There are two main factors that make Bible reading harder than it should be:
First, we read in fragments. Our modern Bibles are made for referencing, not reading. When chapters and verses were added to our Bibles a few hundred years ago, additives like section headings, footnotes, and cross references began piling up as well. These additions help us navigate the Bible quickly, but they’ve also unnaturally fragmented the Bible, encouraging us to read bits and pieces and bounce from book to book rather than reading deeply.
Second, we read alone. The Bible is intended to be read and engaged as a community. Every book of the Bible was originally communicated (sometimes sung!) orally to groups of people. It’s a message intended to be read, discussed, and encountered together. But in today’s hyper-individualized world, especially in the West, we experience life in isolation. Reading the Bible is no exception.
So what would happen if we turned back the clock and restored the Bible’s format to its original simplicity and beauty? And what if we returned to a community-based reading of the Bible, allowing it to shape us and our community together?