Hi, friends. Are you subscribed to an app that texts/emails you a daily Bible verse? Do you prefer to read a physical or digital Bible? Do you read chapters/chunks of scripture or only single verses? Let’s discuss!
It’s an obvious statement that most people don’t read the Bible. [Click here to see some saddening statistics on the matter.] A less apparent fact is that many who do read scripture daily subscribe to a service that pings their phone/email/Facebook/etc. with a single verse. Some people read a daily devotional that includes a brief lesson/explanation with the verse.
I want to be clear that there’s nothing wrong with focusing on a single verse. If one wants to memorize a verse, singular focus would be necessary. In the context of a devotional, zooming in to one verse allows the writer to make a specific point to help readers understand and remember the verse. I make a point to try to remember/contemplate a single verse each time I read the Bible, and I often tweet the verse because typing it out embeds it in my brain.
However…only reading single verses of scripture at a time–never in chapters or chunks–reminds me of an analogy from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. The church members were arguing that some “belong to Paul” and some “belong to Apollos,” missing the whole point that Paul and Apollos were servants for Jesus. Paul felt frustrated; he needed to “go back to square one” with the Corinthians. Paul creates an analogy between spiritual maturity and eating capabilities; “milk” is fed to “infants in Christ,” while “solid food” is fed to the spiritually mature. [1 Corinthians 3:1-9]
Having single verses fed to me and never going deeper would feel like drinking milk. Milk is good, but I crave solid food. Milk is better than nothing–and truncated (shortened, out-of-context) scripture reading is better than no scripture reading (unless you’ve been suckered into a Westboro-Baptist-esque cult)–but I’d rather have the whole enchilada, figuratively and literally.
The joy of reading scripture–not “a verse of scripture” but a chunk of it–is discovering the gems for myself. If I only read singular verses that an app chooses for me, I’m relinquishing the reigns and letting someone else discover the gems. I feel gratified when I’m reading the Bible and a famous verse pops up in the midst of it. Even better is when a not-so-famous verse leaps off the page and twists my heart, becoming a new gem.
Thanks for reading! What does your devotional life look like? Let me know in the comments. As for the digital vs. physical Bible, I’m a physical gal all day. Ya can’t underline, star, and write question marks on a screen.