Speed reading and Bible reading don’t seem like they should go together, but do they?
Tradition has taught us that the Bible is to be read in a slow and reflective manner. There is nothing wrong with that. The thinking behind it is that we don’t want to miss anything that might be important. That’s totally legitimate. However, reading this way can make progress difficult, especially in the more difficult sections of the Bible. This leads to people getting bogged down and quitting.
Several years back, I was taking a course on the New Testament. One of the requirements was that I read the entire New Testament prior to taking the final exam and turning in my final paper. And then it happened.
I got behind.
To remedy the situation, I grabbed my large print reading Bible and launched into a vigorous speed reading of the New Testament. To say I was amazed at the results would be an understatement. As I read, things began to come together for me in ways I had not experienced before. What’s more, I found myself retaining more of what I had read. A friend gave me grief when I shared my experience with him. He was one of the slow and reflective reading crowd. While I still affirm that form of reading the Scriptures, I also knew through this experience that I was on to something.
On average, most people read between 200 to 250 words per minute. That’s not much when you think about it. Most people can easily increase their reading to 300 to 400 words per minute with a little effort. That helps to cover a lot more ground in a shorter amount of time. It is particularly helpful when using the plan of reading pages rather than chapters that I wrote about in my last post. While I am definitely not a speed reading instructor, I can provide you with a few helpful tips to increase your reading speed…
- Make sure your reading Bible is large print. I know, I know…I’m always banging that drum, and for good reason. Trying to read a Bible with microscopic print is hard on your eyes and slows you down. Large print is definitely the way to go if you want to increase your reading speed.
- Make sure you have enough light. That should go without saying, but people seem to constantly forget how important it is. Not having enough light is hard on your eyes. That means your reading experience will not be as enjoyable. Proper lighting is essential if you plan on picking up the pace with your reading.
- Read when you are most alert and least. That will be different for everyone. I am definitely a morning person, so that’s when I start my Bible reading. The truth is, I can hardly wait to start cruising through the Scriptures each day. Speed reading when you are tired or distracted is almost impossible.
- Use a bookmark or card to track your reading. Place the object directly below the line you are reading, and move it down the page as you progress. This will help to pull your eyes down to the page and focus on what you are reading.
I hope these few ideas will help you in your Bible reading journey.
It goes without saying that speed reading will not be for everyone. Some people have a really difficult time reading. The important thing is to find what works for you and stick with it. The goal is to have God’s Word consistently influencing our lives. It is absolutely essential for those who are intent on living in the Reign.