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The Bible: A Break-Up Story

Reading Scripture from Genesis to Revelation is no small task. But Judy Reamer has a plan to help you do just that—hundreds, maybe thousands, of times

By Sandy Feit
Photography by Andrew Thomas Lee

   

First she ripped the cover off her Bible. Then she grabbed an X-Acto knife and began to slice . . .

Wait! Before you add this woman to the prayer list, let me introduce Judy Reamer, a popular conference speaker with a calling to “get people to the Bible and engage them with the Bible.” Her most requested teaching—“Breaking the Bible Barrier”—addresses two primary perceptions hindering Christians from becoming lovers of the Word: that it’s too time-consuming and hard to understand.

The scene above has been replicated hundreds of times over the last 30 years. It’s Reamer’s demonstration of how to cut a Bible into four segments and rebind them as mini-volumes. Even slow or young readers find the approach manageable, including her own daughter who—at the age of 12—read through the whole of Scripture four times in one year.

Reamer wasn’t always an avid reader of God’s Word. In fact, after 12 years in ministry, she still hadn’t read the entire Bible. Speaking opportunities increased, but the busy mother of four felt she lacked the time to delve into the Good Book for herself. So, assuming it was sufficient to know the “right” smatterings of Scripture, she did what far too many Christians do: she learned about the Bible from other teachers and authors and taught out of their overflow.

Coming to Faith

If you’re wondering how an inexperienced believer found herself on the Christian speaking circuit in the first place, that door was opened by her unusual coming-to-faith story. The short version is that she was raised in a Jewish home and later spent years looking for meaning in cults and New Age philosophies. Then a vacation landed her in Las Vegas, where, thanks to a scheduling change, her childhood idol Pat Boone happened to be performing.

Reamer still isn’t sure why her husband uncharacteristically insisted she call the singer at his hotel or why she uncharacteristically complied. Nor did Boone know why he returned the call. But he later said her name “leaped” off the list of messages, compelling him to contact her. And “How big is God!”—that’s Reamer’s favorite expression—they met after his concert and spent hours talking about the Lord. Then Pat Boone led Judy Reamer to faith in her Jewish Messiah.

Teaching—and Learning

Reamer soon started receiving invitations to share her colorful testimony, playfully titled “God Wins in Las Vegas.” A church asked her back to speak on a topic of their choosing, and before long she had a repertoire of teachings and a booked calendar.

On one retreat, after leading attendees through some challenging introspection, Reamer felt the need to lighten things up. So for fun, she opened the afternoon session by directing everyone to a nonexistent book of the Bible. “Turn to Obadiah, chapter one,” she instructed, thinking she’d pulled the name from a genealogy or some other obscure verse. Wondering why no one seemed to get the joke, she watched as everyone stopped flipping pages and looked up, ready for instruction. Horrified, she realized, Obadiah is a book of the Bible?

“On second thought,” she said, “let’s go to Isaiah 27.” She saved face but felt ashamed that so many sat under a teacher who’d never read the entire Bible. Being “in good company” was no comfort—she’s since learned that more than nine out of ten Christians and nearly as many American pulpit pastors have never read through the entirety of Scripture. Reamer desperately wanted to be a Bible reader and pleaded with God to make it happen. “There was no desire to impress people,” she recalled. “I simply wanted to know the Author: What was on His mind? What was in His heart?

She tried reading large portions, but the scholar in her proved more frustrating than helpful. Complex chapters drove her to lexicons, commentaries, and Bible dictionaries, which only bogged her down as she sorted through details.

Answered Prayer

Then, just a week after the Obadiah incident, her son came home from his Christian school with a pamphlet about Phillip Green, a pastor who’d read through the Bible literally thousands of times. Sensing her prayer was about to be answered, Reamer immediately began following the handout’s suggestions. “After seven days,” she said, “I was a quarter of the way through the Bible, taking in so much Scripture that it was pushing out the thoughts of the flesh. I was already beginning to think with the mind of Christ.”

Days later God expanded on His answer to her prayer. On an errand across town, Reamer bumped into church friends and their companion—Phillip Green. The coincidence amazed her, as did the discovery that he was in town to speak at meetings all week.

Reamer attended every session. Humanly speaking, the event was unimpressive, with only about 25 in attendance at that tiny church each night. But Green’s messages provided the foundation for what would become a favorite teaching: that besides prayer and studying Scripture, a third component is essential to the devotional life—simply reading the Bible cover to cover, over and over.

“Since God primarily speaks from His Word, reading a verse or two a day doesn’t give Him much to work with,” she explained. “Our job is to get as much Scripture as possible into our ‘eye gate’ so the Holy Spirit will have more to bring to remembrance according to our situations and needs (John 14:26). Then, the more you take in, the more you will see connections throughout the entire counsel of God—and the more He’ll speak directly to you.”

A Plan that Works

That’s why overcoming those common barriers is critical—and the reason Green devised his simple plan. Understanding how the eye and brain function to take in text, he suggested using a giant-print two-column Bible and pulling the blank side of a business card down each page as a “coach” to move the eye along. He also recommended dividing the text into four sections, as most people find huge books daunting.

The plan in no way replaces study and meditation, both of which are necessary for Christian growth, Reamer clarified. “But my reading time is for reading. If I come across an idea I want to study or chew on, I jot the verse down and revisit it later. My purpose in reading is to see the big picture in context.” She draws a comparison to the “Maid of the Mist” boat ride: tourists see, smell, feel, hear, and taste Niagara Falls in an up-close-and-personal way. But without viewing the Falls from an overlook, they can’t appreciate how those aspects fit into the entire experience.

“I came to love the whole story of God through mere reading,” Reamer said. “But now I’m taking hold of the Lord Himself far more deeply, simply by meditating on the words I’ve seen so many times. This wouldn’t have happened had I not read and read and read.”

 

Judy Reamer’s Tips for Reading

Once you’ve made your mini-volumes, try these tips for improved Bible reading.

Devote 30 minutes.

Could you dedicate a half-hour daily to reading Scripture? That's equivalent to less than one short TV program, or time enjoying another book. Even reading slowly (200 words per minute) will get you through the entire Bible three times in a year.

Enjoy like a novel.

Read as you would for pleasure—without analyzing details or expecting full retention. “Regardless of speed,” Reamer says, “we retain only 20 percent, so try reading more quickly. Each time through, you'll deposit more Scripture in your memory for recall. Think, Gone with the Wind: first you learn about [the main characters] Rhett and Scarlet. Next time around, you gather information about [secondary characters] Melanie and Ashley. Later, watch for details about [setting, such as] magnolia trees and soldiers' uniforms.”

Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.


19 comments
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  • December 31, 2012 01:20 PM

    by

    I stumbled upon the August issue of In Touch magazine while cleaning out magazines. My husband and I were looking for a different way to read through the Bible. I plan to try Judy Reamer's method for this new year. Thank you In Touch!!
  • September 17, 2012 03:53 AM

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    I love In Touch magazine the best decision I've made. Dr Charles Stanley delivery of the word hits home. Thank you!!!
    TM
  • September 14, 2012 03:14 PM

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    wow very nice article ....praise God for it.....
  • September 02, 2012 05:40 PM

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    Judy's wisdom is priceless as she receives it at the Savior's feet! Her insights are practical, humorous, wise and always biblical...not to mention a touch of the Jewish mother! thank you for a great article on a most important topic!
  • August 31, 2012 02:42 AM

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    Bieng A Roman Catholics I Love Dr. Stanley For Teaching Me To Read A Devotional A Word God. and I Enjoy Listening To His Radio Program.
  • August 31, 2012 01:08 AM

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    I never imagine it can be done cutting the pages of the Bible was not in my senses. I hope I can do it also cos I never read the whole pages of the Bible. I love my ministry now while working I will take time to share the words of God, even in face book I will spend time to write and send Bible messages to my friends, the results are amazing but oftentimes very sad cos many of them are very closed to their own traditional beliefs and faith.

    I was viewing Dr. Charles Stanley during his Sunday Worship service in Television. And really God is so good in everything every time I watched his broadcast worship service the words of God really chooses a person who is not complaining, eager and willing at all times. This is what I understand from his ministry. God Bless.
  • August 30, 2012 09:03 PM

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    I really need this article. Now we can enjoy reading the Bible. The InTouch Program has been helping me a lot to my Christian growth.
  • August 19, 2012 10:59 AM

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    This article was just what I needed! After reading it, I thought of my mother's large print Bible that we almost gave away. It is perfect; and yesterday, I did the "unthinkable" ...I "broke" it into four sections. :-) I'm starting today and am excited about seeing "connections throughout the entire counsel of God!" Thank you so much!
  • August 17, 2012 11:17 AM

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    I pray this article will unleash large numbers of Christians to read their bible daily. Thanks for a great article Sandy about such an awesome Godly servant, Judy Reamer.
  • August 16, 2012 04:13 PM

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    Thanks so much, In Touch. I've been frustrated, confused, and darn near fallen into despair over not knowing how to get the most out of reading my Bible. It's something I typically don't look forward to doing. I have all the same problems that Ms. Reamer did, and then some! But reading for 1/2 hour a day is something I can certainly do. And I love her idea of jotting down a verse that sticks out, then meditating on it later. Thanks again! I know the Lord led me to read this article today. He's so awesome because He knows our every struggle, and knows exactly where to lead us to satisfy our longing for intimacy with Him.
  • August 14, 2012 11:57 AM

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    I finished my 4 volume set yesterday. I just love them. I am looking forward to reading God's word in a whole new way. I believe this simple way will really help me, as I read the Bible over & over. I bought a New Living Translation in large print. It was somewhat harder than I thought It woud be. For example I had to use a box cutters to separate the volumes. I also reinforced the edges with tape. The self adhesive paper really looks good. Mine is wood grain. I have already read through the Bible 2 times but I believe this way will be best. If you can't read 30 minutes at one time, try two 15 minute reading sessions. The whole purpose of doing this is to make reading the Bible through easier and to grow as a Christian. Thank you for printing article and the unique way to read God's Word. May God Bless you.
    Lynn Moon
  • August 14, 2012 11:45 AM

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    LOVE In Touch! LOVE the Lord! Getting out my hobby X-Acto today & looking forward to this new adventure in God's Word. To be con.......
  • August 11, 2012 09:15 PM

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    Thank you for having Judy in your magazine and her great article tho we have not seen her for a long time I love what the Lord has done in her life, and many blessings for her and family Vic and Mary Rogers Nancy, Julie and now Ryan grandson and Madison granddaughter
  • August 10, 2012 05:25 PM

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    It works! After hearing Judy talk about this method of reading the Bible I purchased a 4 volume set that was already divided. Amazing! What had seemed to be an insurmountable task has turned into a joyfully anticipated time with the Lord. No, I didn't remember it all after the first reading or after the second reading. But it becomes more familiar each time and the more I remember, the more I apply scripture to my daily life. This should surely become standard operating procedure for every Christian! Thank you Judy Reamer!
  • August 08, 2012 12:06 AM

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    Whatever it takes God always have a plan for His People!!! Excellent idea. I Love Dr. Charles Stanley, love his ministry! AMEEEN!!!

  • August 07, 2012 07:24 PM

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    I love it another method for reading through the Word of God, another way to grow in Christ. I've been saved for almost 40 years and have only read through the Word once or twice. I'm so excited to try this I'm gathering all my materials and will soon be cutting and binding. Thank you Sandy and In Touch Ministries.
  • August 05, 2012 02:01 PM

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    Thank you so much! I did this to my old bible as I have been saved eight years (since I was 5) and have not even read half the bible. I am so excited to dig into God's Word and come to know him better.
    Thanks again!
    Jessica
  • August 02, 2012 03:57 PM

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    I am very spiritually moved by the entire InTouch program and Dr. Stanley's messages have brought me much closer to God, the Father, Jesus, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I have no doubt where I will spend eternity.
  • August 01, 2012 09:47 AM

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    I love the intouch magazine! I use it every day and wait for each month to arrive. I love Charles Stanley and listen to his council.
    Bettylee Christian

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