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A crash test dummy’s guide to reading the Bible
Emily Krill
by Emily Krill
October 30, 2023

It seems to me that when a car manufacturer creates a new car model, there are two very important teams that participate in the process. These two teams are the design team and the crash test dummies.

When we talk about reading the Bible, it’s important to remember these two groups as well.

The design team of the Bible is the triune God. God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the reason we can trust that “driving” through the Bible is safe and good for us. Our God designed it for practical, everyday, meaningful (even fun) use, not just for “garage sitting.”

The crash test dummies are those of us who are willing to jump into the car for daily read-the-Bible test drives. We aren’t crash test dummies because we’re dumb. We’re crash test dummies because the first time earnestly reading the Bible for many of us feels like jumping in with more questions than answers. We have concerns that the ride might end with us feeling confused, frustrated, or hurt.

But we try anyway . . . because the Engineer/Designer is God. And he’s awesome. Think about it—if you knew that the Creator of the universe designed a literal car, you’d suit up for the test drive immediately, right? It would probably be the most incredible ride of your life.

The Bible is the most incredible, death-defying ride of your life. Truly. And at the same time, it’s also one of the most challenging, complex rides of your life.

When I first read through the whole Bible, I had just turned 30 years old. Someone in my life had challenged me to answer this question: If you were able to know for certain that God really is who he says he is in the Bible, what is one thing you would change about your life? After careful consideration, my answer was to read the whole Bible, cover to cover.

That experience changed me more than anything else I’ve ever encountered. Some days it wrecked me. It forced me to realize how weak and vulnerable the human experience is. Some days it flooded me with so much hope and joy that I literally couldn’t stop smiling. Some days I struggled to stay focused on the words and had to read a verse or two over and over again because my mind kept drifting off to other things. Some days it left me feeling like the most important person on the planet because I knew that the words I had just read were written for ME. They resonated with that particular moment or challenge or struggle so deeply that I lost my breath.

And when I was done with the final word in Revelation, I knew two things:

This was the most important thing I had ever done.

I couldn’t wait to do it again!

So for all my fellow crash test dummies who are cautiously considering sliding into the driver’s seat, optimistically ready for the ride of your life, I have three tips that helped me:

  • Find a pace that works for you. My ideal pace was one chapter a day. Maybe yours is the length of your commute to or from work; you can listen to an audio version of the Bible from your favorite Bible app while you drive.
  • Find a process that works for you. I liked to journal about what I read every day using the SOAP method. This helped me better understand and apply what I read each time. (You can learn more about it on Amber Albee Swenson’s Little Things podcast in the episode entitled “Faith Journeys: Emily Krill.”)
  • Find a time that works for you. Just like that coffee date that never happens until you get it on your family calendar—if you don’t carve out time, Bible reading won’t happen.

However you choose to customize your Bible-reading adventure, there is a bottom line: Just do it. Pick a start date and try it. Then try it again. Keep trying it until you find yourself craving it. Ask God to help you see that he wrote every single word with his love for YOU in mind. Paul reminds us of this with his words to Timothy: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16,17 NLT).

I’ll be praying for you—that God gives you the courage to jump in and buckle up for the ride of your life!