|Rambling Thoughts on Reading the Bible|
|Reading the Bible
I read something recently which really got me to thinking. I have thought about it all week. I really have not arrived at any concrete and absolute answer but here are some things I thought about it. What I read was in a devotional written by Rick Joyner. This is what he said, "If you have been a Christian for twenty years and you had read two chapters of the New Testament every day, you would have read the New Testament through over seventy times." Wow! I have read the Bible more than many folks, but I feel like Iíve got some catching up to do. I guess I could ask the question: Why read the bible anyway? I know the Book of Hebrews says that the Word is alive and active. I guess we all have different takes on exactly what that means. Jesus made a bold statement in Matthew 4:4. He said, "man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 8:3. John starts his Gospel by calling Jesus the "Word." In chapter 1 verse 1 he says the Word was in the beginning and then in verse 14 he says the Word became flash and dwelt among us. The psalmist said in Psalm 107:20, "He sent His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions." the Prophet said Godís Word will accomplish its purpose and never return to God void.
No one can logically deny that Godís Word, spoken or read, is powerful. The power of the Word, the power of the Bible was not what I was thinking about. What was on my mind was the fact that most, or at least many, Christians donít really read their Bibles. I may be wrong but that is what I have come to believe based on personal experience. I will give you an experience I had a few years ago that shows reluctance to commit to reading the Bible. A new year was about to start. I went to a local Christian Book Store and they loaned me a variety of study Bibles, Bibles in many different versions and One Year Bibles. The latter are arranged and dated to help you read through the Bible in one year by reading each day from the Old Testament, the Psalms, Proverbs and the New Testament each day. They were available in several translations. I printed and had copies available to almost a dozen different reading plans for the Bible or New Testament. All of this was spread out on a large table for everyone to look at and see what they liked best. They could take one of the reading plans I had printed or go to the book store and purchase the items on the display table. Everyone was challenged to commit to some reading plan for the next year. To join me in the commitment and we would communicate our progress to each other. Sort of accountability, I guess. Out of over two hundred folks present that day only two told me of and made a commitment with me to read that year. One of those never really got started and the other was so far behind after six weeks they gave up a month later. I am not saying bad about them. At least they got out of the boat, so to speak. I thought of another example as I write this. I was talking to a pastor I know about this and he said something that floored me. He said that he understood the situation. In fact he said he had "started trying to read the Bible through in a year several times himself." Implying to me he had not made it. There are many exceptions I am fully aware of that. I heard another pastor recently tell his church he was reading the Bible through for the twenty-fifth year in a row. Just on that basis I believe I would rather have the preacher who is reading the Bible for the twenty-fifth time behind the pulpit. I know of another person, a lay person, who read the New Testament through twelve times in one year from eleven different translations.
With all that said, back to my original thought and that was why donít we read the Bible more? What are the reasons? What are the excuses? Iím really not making any dogmatic statements here. We are under Grace not under Law. These are just some things I thought of. The first thing many folks say is they just donít have time. Well, remember what Joyner said. Two chapters of the New Testament each day and we would read the New Testament over seventy times in twenty years. It does not take much time to read two chapters. I have a plack in my Man Cave that says, "All we have to decide is what to do with the time we are given." From where I sit, it appears the time issue is an excuse and not a reason
I also thought about how little the ones behind many pulpits encourage the church to spend time in Godís Word. I thought of how so many of us donít understand the basics of how to study our Bibles. Sometimes I have wondered if Christian leaders are doing enough to help. I believe most are doing what they know to do. I can think of two who have written very good books on Bible study methods. Those are Rick Warren and Kay Author. Some people say they donít really enjoy reading the Bible because they canít understand it. There are many modern language translations and some paraphrases that can help with the issue of understanding it. Some of the Old Testament may be very difficult to read or understand so that it makes any sense, but there is plenty of the book that is not hard to read.
As I pondered this issue I believe I have thought of the number one reason most of us donít spend enough time reading Godís Word. Most people just donít know and realize the value of reading it. Donít realize the power it has to change their lives. Spending time in the Bible could be compared to sitting at the feet of Jesus. We all know the story of Martha and Mary and Jesus. How Martha was busy working and Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus. She had chosen the best part according to Jesus. In other words, she was absorbed in what he had to say. A pastor once told me the big problem is lazy church leaders. I just nodded and did not disagree with him. But I think the big problem is church leaders who havenít spent enough time sitting at the feet of Jesus. That will take care of many short comings and problems in the Church. In fact if you spend time "sitting at the feet of Jesus," he will come and raise your dead brother back to life.
I know there is nothing as powerful in my life as praise and worship and spending time in the Word. That is the only thing that will change me into what God wants me to be. That is the thing will remove the heavy yoke and give me a life of freedom in Jesus Christ.
These are some of the things I thought about as I wondered why some Christians donít read the Bible very much. Do people read it enough? What do you think?
Serving the King,
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