Welcome to the Garden to City reading challenge! Before we get started, let me give you some ideas for making it as engaging and beneficial as possible.
1. Make it a habit. I would recommend establishing a daily time and place for reading. If you simply wait for a time to do it each day, you probably will never get around to it.
2. Choose a translation. From word-for-word translations (higher on accuracy, lower on readability) to thought-for-thought translations (higher on readability, lower on accuracy), there are a lot to choose from. We have a video resource to help you choose a translation that is right for you. We have a video in Resources that goes into more detail on this.
3. Start with prayer. Each day, begin your Bible reading time with prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding so that you might grow in the knowledge of God (Ephesians 1:17). Let’s be honest, some of the stuff in Scripture is hard to understand and difficult to embrace. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help us understand what we are reading.
4. Experiment with the reading. You might find it helpful to read out loud or listen to an audio version as you read. Perhaps reading passages together in a small group would enhance the readings for you. Look for recurring words to underline or themes to notice. Look for ways to make your reading more workable, insightful, and life-giving.
5. Look for the Gospel. You can find Jesus, the cross, and God’s heart and hand of redemption on each and every page of Scripture. Looking for the Gospel reveals the heart, character, and ways of God to us.
6. Look for a SPECK of Truth. This is where personal application happens. SPECK is an acronym that stands for a Sin to confess, a Promise to claim, and Example to follow, a Command to obey, or Knowledge to believe. If you look for a simple SPECK each day, it will ensure that you are not just a reader of the Word but a doer of it.