How Fast Do You Read?

I’m a fast reader, which I usually find to be an asset. But it’s a drawback when it comes to reading words that need to sink deep, like poetry. It’s even more of a drawback in reading the Bible. Sure, if you’re going to read the Bible through in a year, a worthy endeavor, reading it fast may be the only way to do it. But it may be more life-changing to read a few verses slowly every day, turn them over and over in your mind and meditate on them all day long.

And we church leaders need to work with Scripture in a way that has nothing to do with preparation for preaching or teaching, simply with ourselves and our own journey. There’s no short cut to spiritual growth. For quite a few years I’ve been using Angela Ashwin’s Woven into Prayer, which includes a Scripture reading for every day of the year, plus prayers for every day.

I have to remind myself that reading the Bible is not a sprint.

5 replies on “How Fast Do You Read?

  • Rebecca Maccini

    I, too, am a very fast reader. I usually have 10 books sitting on my bureau. I am a speed reader and have a challenging time reading the scriptures because it is not speed reading. I can gaze through a book and get the general gist of it in an hour and relay it back to someone. For me, this kind of reading is a sign of my anxiety because I am afraid that I will not get read all the books that I need to read to grasp the meaning of life and learn everything that I want to learn. Who knows the next book might be the book of my salvation! Hopefully, learning to read might be in my future, when and if the challenges of the environment that I live in are lessened.

  • Israel Galindo

    The insight that different kinds of literature require different kinds of, and levels of, reading can be a breakthrough. It’s an insight I’m perpetually trying to help my students “get.” Some try to read research works like a novel, slowly and cover-to-cover. Some dissect the Bible critically and lose the capacity, for a while, to read it devotionally. And most, it seems, lack the ability to read poetry at all.

    I always recommend to my first year seminarians Mortimer Adler’s “How To Read a Book,” telling them that they need to “learn to read.” Most have not been taught to be discerning readers.

  • John Rosenberg

    For years, I’ve been discouraged by my my slow reading rate. I even took an Evelyn Woods speed-reading class while I was in seminary in an effort to “speed it up.” Lately, however, I’ve been trying to make a “virtue out of a necessity.” I’ve discovered that if I’m going to read — which I very much enjoy — I need to be intentional about setting aside “reading” time at the beginning of every day. So, in a sense, my slow rate has forced me to be more intentional about reading. The result is that I read (and seem to retain) more than I used to. One other discovery is that rather than trying to read the Bible through in a year, I switched to the two-year plan. What’s the rush?


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