Binge Reading

It snowed last night which means everything is closed.  When everything is closed, I can have a slower start to my morning since I don’t have to cram everything in to a short period of time before I go to work and that means extra time for reading.  This morning I read an article with a title I could not resist:  Stop Binge-Watching and Start Binge-Reading.  The author talked about how he spent time binge-reading 300 books by skimming and skipping.   He said that he read things outside his usual genres because he wasn’t afraid to skim and skip around and that by giving himself permission to not finish a book and to not read meticulously, he took chances on books and read so many more and was enriched by his “binge-reading”.

He commented that his library allows up to 30 checkouts and I don’t even have a cap on the number of books I can check out at my library.  Nevermind the number of free or nearly free ebooks at our fingertips these days.

What a great idea!  Instead of binge-watching (something I rarely do; the last time was when I was attempting to watch three seasons of Doctor Who before the new season began), I could dip into numerous books and perhaps get caught up in a new genre or series or subject I may never have approached if I felt obligated to read every last word in each book.

However, the article also got me thinking about Bible reading.  How often do we “binge-read” the Bible?  A brand new Christian will often inhale whole books of the Bible in the matter of weeks whereas those of us who have been Christians for years will feel obligated to read and study through the Bible systematically and if we don’t have 30 or 45 minutes to do that, we skip it altogether.  Or we skim through our Bible reading plan and then feel guilty the rest of the day because we didn’t read each word with the care and respect due to the Word of God.

But wouldn’t it be better sometimes to just read–to skim through an entire book for an overview, to read a chapter quickly and let a single verse catch our eye, to dip in and out of the book of Psalms, to read our favorites stories in the Old Testament and the Gospels?   Wouldn’t it be better to do that sometimes as a way of refreshing ourselves?

Am I saying that we shouldn’t read the Bible carefully and spend time in study?  No, there is a definite place for that and I know that Bible study is an important part of understanding the Word of God.  What I am saying is that there are days and even seasons of our lives when that kind of careful Bible study is hard to do–when we are ill or have many small children who never seem to sleep or are juggling a couple of jobs plus a household or are traveling or many other situations in which we find ourselves.  Better to skim, to re-read favorite verses, to catch just one verse or a portion of a verse to meditate on that day than to skip reading altogether because we don’t have time to do it “right”.

Binge-reading:  what a great idea!

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