Some folks see daily Bible reading as a discipline, not to be missed. Others see Bible comprehension as the essential practice. However both sides would agree that the goal is not keeping a schedule or mastering theological studies, but getting to know the author of Scripture.
Consider these quotes from Ken Walker’s Christianity Today article, “Fall Off the Bible -in-a-Year Wagon?”:
“If a reading plan motivates you, use it,” [Bible Gateway General Manager Rachel Barach] said. “But if it becomes a chore that deters you from Scripture, use a devotional, study one book in depth, or just randomly open to a chapter. Give your time to God and let him bless you through his Word.”
Joel Scandrett, professor of historical theology at Trinity School for Ministry, said daily reading is a fundamental discipline dating to the early church. “The deep grasp of Scripture that this discipline provides is essential to Christian discipleship, and one-year Bible reading plans are a great way to achieve that,” he said.
What matters most is not marking off a checklist or meeting a quota but grasping the overarching narrative of Scripture and how smaller stories fit within that, said Kevin Scott, acquisitions editor for Wesleyan Publishing House.
I think the same issues arises with Scripture memorization. I find little value in memorizing a verse verbatim without also knowing what the verse means in the context it was written.
For example many can quote 1 John 4:18 “perfect love drives out fear” but few realize that the context of that verse is the judgment of God. The verse does not mean that believers will never experience fear again. It means they no longer need to fear the day of judgment.
Keeping site of our goals — learning more about our God and using good bible study methods– ought to inform both practices. I learn more about God through concentrated, in-depth Bible study than a daily “quiet time.” For others the “work” of Bible study leaves them dry and they learn more about God through daily Scripture meditations.
In either case the goal is not completing a checklist or performing a ritual, the goal is comprehension and understanding.