In two days our 40 day New Testament Challenge–The Gospel of Mark will begin. One of the reasons people hesitate to open their Bibles and begin reading is that they are afraid they do not really know how to read it. I would like to give some good tips which I found from the Preachers Institute on the best way to read for the New Testament Challenge.

The advice is simple: AAA.

Many of us are members of AAA for our cars. I know that Triple A has come to my rescue many times. Think of this guide as the Triple A of Bible Reading. When you get lost or broken down in your effort, call on Triple A and you will get back on your journey. Triple A also offers maps and advice for starting out on your journey too.

What is the Bible Reading AAA? Very simply, it stands for

ALOUDRead it aloud

APPLYit to yourself

ACT–on it immediately

ALOUD

Ancient texts were meant to be read aloud. On day St. Augustine and his companions came to visit his mentor, St. Ambrose, in his study. The young men sat there in astonishment as they watched Ambrose reading to himself. It was such an unusual thing, that the young men were enthralled by it and just watched.

When you read Scripture aloud, the words penetrate better from the ear to the heart. It will also keep you concentrated on the text and sometimes even make a difficult passage clearer.

APPLY

It is easy to keep the stories of Scripture at arms length. Sometimes we put them on the level of the Greek and Roman myths or of the novels that we read. The text is safe as long as it doesn’t concern us.

But once we take the story of Scripture and apply it to our own lives, the text comes alive. It also becomes a challenge and a judge. For example, in chapter 1 of Mark, St. John the Baptist is not just preaching to the crowds at the Jordan; he is speaking to us–we are part of the crowd. Others are going down for baptism, why are we hesitating? What is it about our lives or about our attitudes that is keeping us back from making that commitment?

Applying the story to our own situation makes it come alive and helps to transform us.

ACT

The key concept here is IMMEDIATELY. Making good resolutions are fine, but they will inevitably go the way of all those other New Years Resolutions that we make every year and never keep. Our action has to be immediate and concrete if we want to start making progress through the Challenge. Never leave the text of Scripture without implementing one thing in your life that you can do right now. And don’t make it theoretical (“I’m going to be more patient.”); if it’s going to work, it has to be concrete (“I am going to say the Jesus Prayer every time I am cut off on the road.”)

Remember our friend AAA! It will start you on your way and get you back on track when you have problems!

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