Christian Living

Spiritual Life

A Balanced Diet of Scripture

Do you have a balanced diet of Scripture?

Imagine a typical meal. Whether it’s a black bean burger with mashed potatoes on the side, or a roasted chicken with steamed vegetables and chocolate mousse for dessert, one thing is clear: a healthy, well-rounded dinner does not consist of a single carrot or blueberry—or even a whole plateful of them. We need variety.

The same principle applies to our spiritual intake. Many people only hear the Word of God at church on Sundays, or they read the Bible more often but rotate between a few favorite books. Such flimsy and unbalanced diets do not support a healthy relationship with and knowledge of God. In addition, such practices lead to diminished appetites for Scripture, resulting in further weakening of our desire to spend time with God in His Word.

Having a go-to reading plan with built-in variety can help. I’ve used a simple method for years that I want to share in the hopes that it will also help you.

Four Reading Cycles

The Four Reading Cycles daily devotional method seeks to gradually increase your desire for reading God’s Word (all of it!). This method involves using four bookmarks placed in four sections of the Bible:

  1. Genesis–Malachi (skipping the Psalms)
  2. Psalms
  3. Matthew–Acts
  4. Romans–Revelation

Find a time that works best in your schedule and open up to at least one of the bookmarked places. If possible, read a few passages from each section. This will expose you to greater portions of Scripture and increase your appetite for the Word.

Don’t worry if you miss a day or two, or if you don’t feel like reading all four parts some days. The bookmarks will still be there! There is no set amount of reading prescribed for each day—thus removing a sense of obligation or burden that some plans can induce. The point is to enjoy and savor each part of regular, well-balanced “meals” from God’s Word.

The Whole Counsel of God

As you work your way through the four cycles, your understanding of the whole counsel of God will increase. While there is nothing wrong with returning to a favorite book or passage time and time again, this method helps you avoid the temptation we all have to ignore the parts of Scripture that we normally wouldn’t touch or gravitate toward.

For example, many of us can probably recite the timeless words of Psalm 23, but how many can claim familiarity with the strange prophecies of Ezekiel? Yet, every part of Scripture teaches us something about God and leads us to know Him better in some way. This includes the passages we like as well as those we find difficult.

With this four-cycle plan, you may encounter God in the Psalms one day and in the Gospel of John the next. That is the beauty of this method—it exposes you to the words of the One who inspired every part of the Bible. And it is an encounter with the living God that is the very purpose of reading (or listening to) Scripture. In turn, the more time we spend dwelling in God’s Word, the more we will be conformed to His image.

Read the Word!

Different practices work for different people. Schedules change and seasons of life affect our daily devotions. Because of this, the Four Reading Cycle method may work for some but not for others. It is a tool, not a rule. Find a method that works for you and immerse yourself in Scripture. The more you read, the more your appetite for the Word will increase.

Copyright © 2020 Ken Boa, used with permission.

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