I’m all about putting in place procedures and routines to help me accomplish things that I don’t want to neglect. For example, I get up earlier than anyone in the house so I can have some quiet time to pray. If I don’t do it in the morning, I won’t have any other quiet time during the day to stop and pray. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I don’t try to stay in a spirit of worship and prayer all day long…
I do the same with Bible reading. Reading the Bible should be a non-negotiable for Christians. Surely you have heard the children’s explanation of what the Bible stands for = Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. I think it is more than that just instructions for leaving Earth! The Bible shares God’s plan for His people throughout history, the present and future. It is inspirational, a how-to, an encouragement, God’s love letter to us.
2 Timothy 3:15-17 says, “ 15 and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (HCSB)
And Romans 15:4 says, “For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures.” (HCSB)
The Sad Fact
However, I believe that many Christians don’t actually read their Bible. George Barna, a Christian version of George Gallup, reported in The State of the Bible: 6 Trends for 2014,
While the percentage of Americans who believe the Bible is sacred has fallen in recent years, from 86% in 2011 to 79% in 2014, it’s still a sizable majority of all adults. In general, Americans continue to view the Bible very positively. More than half of Americans (56%) are “pro-Bible”—meaning they believe the Bible is the actual or inspired word of God with no errors. Most adults say the Bible encourages forgiveness (91%), generosity (88%) and patience (89%) while discouraging war (62%), slavery (60%) and prostitution (82%). Nearly nine in 10 households own at least one Bible (88%) and the average number of Bibles per household is 4.7.
Being pro-Bible doesn’t necessarily mean Americans use the Bible regularly, however. Only 37% of Americans report reading the Bible once a week or more. Among those who have read Scripture in the previous week, not quite six in 10 (57%) say they gave a lot of thought to how it might apply to their life. While the Bible’s place in America as a cultural icon endures, it’s not always perceived as a transformational text. Even as Bible ownership remains strong, readership and engagement are weak.
It’s pretty sad that only 37% of Christians are reading their Bible ONE TIME A WEEK! That is definitely not enough to truly stay “connected” to Jesus. We have to be more purposeful!
Actually Read Your Bible!
I remember listening to a Ravi Zacharias podcast once, when I was younger, where he said that your Bible reading should be more directed and purposeful than just opening your Bible to a page to start reading. If you do that, you will never get to a lot of the Bible, and you will think you are actually reading more than you are.
When I was younger, I came up with a Bible Reading Log. I used it for many years. You can download a copy here.
Lately, since I started using my tablet to read ebooks, I downloaded The MacArthur Daily Bible. I read it in my Amazon Kindle App.
This Bible has a daily reading from The Old Testament, Psalms, Proverbs and the New Testament. Throughout the readings, if there are notes and other helpful study guides. At the end of that day, there is a short thought, summary or something related to the daily reading. The cool thing is that everything is hyper linked. So, you just click on the link for the next reading or the next day and it goes there. You don’t have to flip back and forth.
Side note – The first ebook version was not hyper linked. So you might read in the comments that there is an issue. However, the publisher has since added this feature.
The MacArthur Daily Bible only comes in the New King James Version of the Bible. If you don’t have a tablet or don’t want to use an eVersion, you can purchase it in paperback too.
There is so much out there that we try to keep up with, the latest article on skills, alternative news and the economy. However, more important than all of that is our knowledge and reading of Scripture. This is an eternal prep!