I am surprised how many well established Christians hardly read the Bible. It’s a habit that many don’t seem to develop.
Sadly many churches don’t read the Bible in their services anymore either, so that means many people don’t get much Bible into their lives on a week to week basis.
As a new Christian I was advised to read the Bible each day and my parents subscribed to a series of daily devotional readings for me. I mostly forgot to do the readings as a child and youth and would do a catch up from time to time, reading a bunch of daily readings in one hit. I also found that the Bible part was not in the easiest language and the additional notes were always more interesting. So I tended to skip the Bible passage and simply read the notes provided in the devotional.
By the time I went to Bible College I was still not reading the Bible on a daily basis, relying on my topical interest in key subjects or favourite verses I picked up in sermons. My Bible knowledge tended to be sets of verses pulled together to support a truth or favoured Bible topic.
When I eventually decided I would read the Bible each day I started with just a handful of verses, then moved up to a Chapter at a time. I then felt challenged to read the Bible all the way through and do it in one year. That seemed like a marathon challenge to my mind.
Along the way there was several verses that supported me in my interest to read God’s Word on a daily basis and read it through multiple times. Those verses spoke of how God’s Word entering our lives has positive effect, even making us wise. I wanted those outcomes in my life.
“The entering of your words gives light; giving understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130
“The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making the simple wise.” Psalm 19:7
“I have more understanding than all my teachers: for I meditate on your testimonies.” Psalm 119:99
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. And judging the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
Along the way I realised that intending to read the Bible each day was not the same as doing it. Things got in the way and when I finally had time to read, I was too tired to focus on what I was reading. I realised I had to give God priority, not the crumbs of my time. So I began doing my Bible reading first thing, after I was up and dressed, before having breakfast. That has worked fairly well over the years.
Another problem that came up for me, however, was the feeling that I wasn’t getting anything out of reading through the whole Bible.
In my younger years the New Testament writings and the words of Christ were elevated by the church and preachers. The Old Testament was relegated mostly to a place for Children’s Talks, with accounts of great exploits in the pre-Christian era. However the New Testament preachers only had the Old Testament writings and it was those writings that were commended to us as God’s inspired words for us.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness, so the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.” 2Timothy 3:16,17
“For the prophecy came in old time not by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as the Holy Spirit moved them.” 2Peter 1:21
And as regards those wonderful Bible accounts from the Old Testament of men and women of God doing exploits, we saw earlier that those testimonies make us wise.
“The testimony of the Lord is sure, making the simple wise.” Psalm 19:7
So I realised I could not just read the New Testament or the words of Christ, but had to respect ‘all scripture’ as profitable. But that led to the problem of reading things that hardly seemed important, such as lists of names, or instructions about sacrifices that are no longer made, or elaborate descriptions about the design of the temple. It can be hard to wade through those things.
That’s when I had to return to the fact that “The entering of God’s words gives light; giving understanding to the simple”. And that reading God’s Word will make me wise, not because I can analyse and explain it, but because I have sown it into my life.
I also realise that God’s Word is spiritual. It is God’s Word, so it is Spirit breathed, as God’s Spirit moved holy men. It is the sword of the Spirit.
“Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Ephesians 6:17
Reading God’s Word and benefitting by it is not something measured in our brains. God’s Word touches us much more deeply and powerfully than just giving us things to think about. The Holy Spirit uses God’s Word in our lives as a sword and as a source of wisdom and power.
Apostle Paul said Christ cleansed the Church by washing it with the Word.
“That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” Ephesians 5:26
“You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” John 15:3
“Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.” John 17:17
Today I have daily Bible reading in my routine. I read through the Bible at least once each year. I use different translations too, so I can catch a different way of seeing a Bible truth or passage. I often do it as a routine, rather than feeling I have been in Heaven’s glories as I read. I do it as a spiritual discipline, confident it does wonderful things for me.
I commend to you the discipline of daily reading of God’s Word, the Bible, as a nourishment to your life and spirit. I want you to continue to be Washed by God’s Word.