A Word on Focus Passages

It has been a few months now since we began reading the Bible in a year, so I thought I’d go back and touch on one of the aspects that people newer to Year in the Bible may not be familiar with. Each week we read quite a bit of text. We average around 23 chapters per week, with a lighter load mixed in for periodic breaks (or times to catch up!). Reading at this pace is difficult at times, and if you share my experience, it is a very different style of reading.

I grew up doing a lot of Bible study in which you take little chunks at a time. This is a great way to do it since you don’t rush and you have the flexibility to wrestle with passages, meditating on them to try to plumb the depths of God’s Word. That’s typically how sermons go, as well, with a preacher spending focused time on one or two passages. This is how I’ve taught Bible studies. For example, before beginning Year in the Bible, we spent just about all of 2011 studying the book of John.

Now that we’ve sped things up considerably you may lose some of that narrowly focused, in-depth time in the Bible. I think we’ve gained something by shifting into this style for a year, and I wrote about it here. Simply put, it is good to step back to see the larger arc of the story of God’s love for us.

We’re doing Year in the Bible in order to gain this larger perspective and to make sure we read and appreciate all of God’s Word. But we don’t want to miss out entirely on what is gained by slow, meditative study. That’s why each week there is a corresponding Bible study. That’s all that the Focus Passages are. I take a short selection from the readings, and prepare some questions and supporting passages. We use them for Bible studies and small groups, but they’re also great for personal study.

If you haven’t already, take a look at them in the This Week section, and to make it even easier, here is the current week’s below:

Q2 W3 Focus Passage Galatians 2

More on the Importance of Attention

I wrote recently that our attention is one of our most valuable possessions, and we should be very careful in regards to what takes our attention. In my reading I came across a couple more articles that help encourage this point, as well as one that emphasizes the value of memorization. One is a quicker overview citing sources like the book The Information Diet, Scientific American, and Time Magazine. The second is the cited article on memorization from Scientific American. Here’s a quote from that article from memory whiz, Ed Cooke, about the value added by using memorization and associated techniques:

Gradually the memory technique gives way—having acted like a scaffold—and you just know the contents. There are other positive things about this: the process of learning forces a depth of pattern perception that means you *truly* engage with the material.

Have you ever memorized verses of the Bible? Or how about asking it like this: Have you memorized any Scripture since being a child in Sunday school classes?

If you have a desire to memorize, let me know. Let’s challenge each other to do so. It’s harder to do it alone, so maybe the two (or more?) of us can do it together and get our brains working hard, in order to better understand and retain God’s Word in us.

Revised Quarter One Readings

If it comes down to a choice between what you see on something I produce and your common sense, I’d say you should often go with your common sense. Such is the case if you have done one of three things: looked for our readings on a bulletin insert, a poster in the hallways, or in an older post on this website. Somehow the month of April switched to become the fifth month of the year without telling anyone but me. So I went ahead and made the change and you’ll see it reflected here. Sorry for any inconvenience.