When you read Genesis, or Philippians, or the Gospel of Mark, or Galatians, does it all sound the same in your head? Worse yet, does it all sound like some guy named Mr. Monotone has jumped into your head and is reading your Bible to you?
If so, I’ve got some good news and some bad news.
- Bad news: You’re reading the Bible incorrectly.
- Good news: The solution is much easier than you think.
First off, to get an idea of how various parts of the Bible can – and should – sound different, I recorded this 2-minute video of the first few verses of Philippians followed by the first few verses of Galatians. (NOTE: This whole post will be a lot more helpful if you watch this first. Come on…it’s only two minutes!)
So, what do you think? Pretty different, wouldn’t you say?
There are so many different emotions, tones, and feelings in the Bible. The more you fully engage those emotions as you read, the more you will enjoy, understand, and remember what you read.
And it’s not that hard. Really. These three steps will get you started in the right direction.
[callout]NOTE: I write extensively on all three of these steps in my book 10 Tips for Liking the Bible (Because Believing It’s True Is Not Enough). You can get a copy for free through the end of January, 2014. Yes….that’s only three more days!)[/callout]
Step 1: Expect it to sound different.
When you pick up the Bible, expect to hear the emotions in the text. Expect to enjoy it. Expect it to be different from what you read yesterday. (Unless you’re reading the same thing!)
When you read novels, do you expect war stories to sound different from love stories? Do you expect biographies to sound different from poetry? Well…war stories, love stories, biographies and poetry are all in your Bible. Expect them to sound different as you read.
Step 2: Read more of it.
Next time you read a novel, try reading one page a day. How much would you like it? How easy would it be to “get into” it? Would you remember what you read? Would you picture the people, hear their voices, and fully grasp their emotions?
Of course not. And you won’t with the Bible either?
However, if you read more of it, you will easily”get into it.” Your brain will enter into what I call the “natural storytelling mode.” You won’t have to work at it. It will just happen. But only if you read more of it.
[callout]Mind spreading the word? Click here to tweet this: “Does every part of the #Bible sound the same in your head? These 3 ideas from @KeithFerrin will help you #LikeTheBible.” Or click here to share it on Facebook. [/callout]
Step 3: Read out loud.
If you’ve never done this, it will feel strange. But only the first few times. After that, you will love it.
When you read out loud you naturally read with more emotion. You naturally stay more engaged. You naturally enter into the story. And you will remember what you read.
In case you’re interested, here’s a podcast episode devoted entirely to the benefits of reading out loud.
Give it a try. Tomorrow, when you pick up your Bible, expect it to be engaging. Read a whole book in one sitting. (If you’re picking a long book, try reading for 20-30 minutes instead of 4-5 chapters.) Read out loud.
Then let me know what happens.