First question: How many Bibles do you have in your house? Count the apps you have on your phone, your tablet, your laptop. Don’t forget the big family Bible on the shelf or in the attic. Remember that childhood Bible that is somewhere. Count the kids’ and your spouse’s Bibles, too. Is the total five? Or ten? Maybe even twenty?
If you call yourself a Christian, my guess is that you have a fair amount of Bibles. Most of us do.
My second question is this: How often do you read any of those Bibles?
If we are the average Christian in the western part of the world, we might read it for an hour or so each week. That equals 8 1/2 minutes per day. That’s about how long it takes to read a chapter or two. Many of us are just reading a few verses which takes it down to a half hour per week. Some of us aren’t reading it at all.
I was all of those at one point in my life and, really, I still struggle some weeks to get that hour in, depending on my schedule. Isn’t that pathetic?
We Christians ought to be ashamed of ourselves.
Let’s look back to history for a moment and remember those who didn’t have Bibles. Home churches ripped pages out of the Bible so that they could each have a portion to take home for the week. People walked for miles in the hot hot sun, or the darkness, or the cold snowy winter to hear the Bible preached. Many were killed for owning a Bible. To these Christians of the past, the Bible was a precious, precious book.
Perhaps, in its abundant availability, we have forgotten just how precious it is.
Satan hates the Bible. Did you know that? He knows that the power for the Christian life is in the Word. As long as he can keep us too busy and distracted to be in the Word, he will render us ineffective for God’s Kingdom. As long as he can convince us that we can’t understand it or that it’s boring, it would seem that he will have accomplished what he set out to do.
Have you ever gone digging for treasure? Think about what it takes to find a treasure. You need a map and you need a shovel. There is a lot of work involved until you reach that chest of gold. In a lot of ways the Bible is no different.
God has given us this amazing treasure of His Word. And while we can enjoy and benefit from bits and pieces of it at a surface level, the true wealth of this Holy Book is revealed when we actually take the time to read and study it. We need to work to get to the real treasure. And that takes time and effort.
I know this because for most of my life I was a “bits and pieces” gal. I’m ashamed to say it but it’s true. It wasn’t until I started really digging into the Word that it began to change me. (You can read my testimony about this here and here.)
It is only when I finally gave serious time to studying the Word that I learned just how interconnected and consistent the entire Bible is. The Bible is teaching me to focus on the eternal and how to combat worry. It it teaching me Who God is and why I can trust Him. It gives me wisdom on living righteously before God and how to love others. And it helps me know how to help others who are going through difficult times (I have nothing worthwhile to offer someone else of my own making. Without Christ, I am as lost and hopeless as the next person). It is showing me that, while the events of the past twenty years (and particularly the past year and a half) have been discouraging, it’s all going according to God’s well-laid out plan for the last days. There’s so much more there in those pages. I am just touching the surface. (I do wish I could say it has perfected me and that I no longer struggle with sin, but its pages tell us not to expect this until we reach the other side.)
The funny thing about scripture is that you can read it and gain insight in one area and then a day, a month, or years later, go back and read the same passage and benefit from it in a totally different way than the first time. It’s a never-ending treasure that just keeps on giving. God, through the Holy Spirit, helps us learn and grow through the Word.
So you don’t find the Bible interesting? You struggle to read anything? You just can’t seem to make Bible Reading a habit?
Let me make a few suggestions–
• Don’t set lofty and unattainable goals. If you struggle, committing to studying an hour a day may lead to frustration. Instead, why not determine to read a few verses each day? And then, instead of letting them go in one ear and out the other, take the time throughout the day to meditate on what you have read. Perhaps even memorize a verse or two.
• If you struggle with reading, find an audio version of the Bible (I use the Bible.is app) so that you can read a chapter or two and then follow it up with listening to it. This may help with your comprehension.
• Find an encouraging accountability partner who will be committed to asking you if you are staying in the Word.
• Find a Bible reading schedule. There are so many different ones–from reading through the Bible in a year to reading the New Testament or the Gospels. (The Growing4Life Bible Reading Challenge can be joined at any time of the year and we’d love to have you join us. I receive no compensation for this whatsoever but simply provide this challenge as an accountability for myself and for my readers to keep us in the Word on a daily basis. You can find out more about the challenge here.)
Here’s the thing…
As much as we’d like to think things are growing more normal, it’s an illusion. What has taken place in the last year has changed the entire world forever. It is leading us at breakneck speed into the scenario that is needed for what has been prophesied in Revelation.
The time to prepare for whatever lies ahead is NOW. And the only way to prepare is to immerse ourselves in the Word. God has given us the Bible to keep us anchored and to weather any storm that comes. If we have any hope at all at navigating what’s ahead with grace and strength, we need to be in the Word. It truly is our only hope.