This is a time saver. It’s also a space saver. But principally it’s a life saver. The Daily Reading Bible will help you study God’s life giving word even when life’s events conspire to keep you away. They’re especially appropriate for those of us who find that our daily quiet time is a daily struggle.
Over the last few years I’ve used these on and off. I’m in full time paid gospel ministry and so I study God’s word every day. But I try to carve out specific devotional time where the agenda is being a Christian as well as study time where the focus is preparing a passage for preaching. You may have issues with the distinction but I’m sure you’ll agree there’s a subtle difference. Anyway, I’m in Amos at the moment courtesy of book 13 and it’s going well.
What you get in the DRB is the passage to study, the Bible text, the questions and the relevant cross references. Each book has 60 studies and they cost about £4 each. Alternatively you can order a subscription here. All you need to do is find a quiet corner of the office, the coffee shop or in my case the house and go study.
I’m very grateful for this resource for the following reasons
1. It’s all there in one place and so when I haven’t managed to have a quiet time before leaving the house I can stick it in my bag and grab some moments later in the day. I’ve had some of my best quiet times in Balham’s Caffe Nero. I’ve also had some of my best coffee in Nero’s, but that’s an issue for another time.
2. I can scribble all over the Bible text. This helps me concentrate on what I’m reading. It makes me engage with what God has said because I can look for links, scribble down observations and spot the logic. I feel I can scribble in this in a way that I feel constrained to do so in my Bible.
3. I’m made to think about the text by the questions. Ask me to think about a Bible text and mental drift is just round the corner. Ask me a specific question about the text in front of me and I’m all ears, or eyes. If I can’t write something then I’m not happy. It means I’m not there yet and so the questions help my slumbering brain and sinful heart engage with what God is saying.
4. The ‘ponder’ section points me in the right direction and provides insightful avenues of application. Sometimes I’m confused by God’s word or I’m unsure of the implications. When that happens I feel angst and my quiet times feel unproductive. I don’t like not understanding what God is saying., The ponder questions provide a helpful steer without putting the answers on a plate.
5. The prayer ideas give me a useful summary and stimulates me to pray. My weakness in quiet times is that I love studying the text. I love trying to work out what God’s word says. I’m just less keen to talk to God about the issues that he’s raised. The prayer section reminds me that God’s word is meant to result in repentance and faith. And prayer is the chief expression of faith and the way to access the help needed for repentance. This closing section gets me praying and then, once I’m there, I struggle significantly less to keep going.
In short, this resource is brilliant. It’s the thing I recommend to our men at church. I’m struggling to think of something that I don’t like about it. At a push, then these are some minor quibbles.
1. It’s the ESV which still reads like the Bible Yoda wrote.
2. The shorter sections of Bible text mean that you can lose the flow of a section. For example, I’m in Amos at the moment and we’ve spent quite a few days in Amos 1 & 2 and that section hangs together.
But in summary, these Bible reading notes are simply fantastic. After all, what do you want your Bible notes to do? For my money you want them to get you into a passage of the Bible, make you interact with the text, make you think along the right lines and provide just enough help when you feel a little bit at sea so that by the end you can pray about something concrete. That’s exactly what these do.