Pastor Nate Pickowicz has written a simple guide for reading Scripture that both informs and encourages Bible study. The author claims the discovery of John MacArthur’s Bible reading plan revolutionized his own approach to the Bible (pp. 9, 31-34). Before this discovery his own biblical reading program was virtually nonexistent and, with an aversion to plans tilted toward rapidly going through the Bible in one year (p. 28), he found MacArthur’s approach inviting. Simply stated, the MacArthur plan calls for reading a book of the New Testament 30 times before moving on to the next book and repeating the same approach. Larger books, such as Matthew, could be broken down into shorter sections. Pickowicz eventually modified MacArthur’s program into what he calls the “The Seven Year Bible Plan” (pp. 123-135) which he recommends to his audience. The author states his direction on page 30:
Instead of plowing through a few verses and then speeding off to work, slow it down. Instead of laboring through the whole Bible in a year, go a little deeper. Instead of reading your Bible simply to check it off the chore list, change your mental approach—change your philosophy. Instead take a longer view of learning your Bible—two, three, five, or even seven years. Make your end goal not merely to read the Bible but to know and understand it—to love and treasure it as God’s holy, sufficient, transforming Word.
How to Eat Your Bible also offers a mini-course on hermeneutics and Bible study methods (pp. 58-96). There is nothing new in this section to those familiar with the genre, but it provides good reminders to them and valuable instruction to those unfamiliar with basic hermeneutical principles.
The volume includes study questions at the end of each chapter to facilitate small group discussion. This material is a useful, short, simple and a helpful guide to Bible study.
Pickowicz had a couple of out-of-context interpretations (pp. 44-45), was a bit confused on illumination, dipped his toe into redemptive hermeneutics (pp. 105, 134), equated the church with the kingdom (p. 107), and strangely states that “God always gives the why before commanding the what” (p. 109), which is certainly not true. But these are off-handed comments that did not derail the overall thrust of the book. Those looking for a different approach to Bible reading and/or small groups wishing to encourage “eating” of the Scripture will appreciate this volume.
How to Eat Your Bible: A Simple Approach to Learning and Loving the Word of God by Nate Pickowicz (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2021), 143 pp., paper $13.99.
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher at Southern View Chapel