Is the Bible valuable?
Most people would say, "Of course." Even if they don't believe it or agree with it, they might value it for historical purposes or it's cultural weight. But is the Bible valuable to you? Christians are supposed to value the Bible as the Word of God Himself.
And yet, a study by LifeWay Research states that only 45 percent of those who regularly attend church read the Bible more than once a week. Over a third only read it once or twice a month. Eighteen percent of church attenders say they never read the Bible at all.
That makes me so sad. I wonder if they know what they are missing.
Have you ever thought about what an amazing thing it is that we have access to the very Word of God? That He has told us all about Himself and all about us and human nature? That He has given us instructions to have "life and life to the full" (John 10:10)? It's sitting there waiting, but sometimes I think the very fact that it is so accessible makes us treat it very casually.
So, practically, how do we start reading and learning from the Bible if we haven't been doing that before? I will tell you, I have struggled in this area for a long time. I am not a morning person, and I'm not super organized, so trying to follow the standard of getting up before dawn and spending hours in a quiet time before my family was awake was never going to work for me - in fact, thinking that people were doing that was discouraging to me. How could I measure up?
Eugene Peterson says that we need "a long obedience in the same direction." My undergraduate degree is in piano performance. When my kids started piano lessons, their first teacher was excited that I would surely be super intense about it and told them they needed to practice for an hour a day. I told her I was going to require 15 minutes from them, and she was not very happy with me. But I required 15 focused minutes. No messing around, it had to be 15 concentrated minutes and it had to be every single day. After that they could play around, play whatever they wanted or not play at all. I didn't care. You see, I'd already taught piano for years. Most kids their age couldn't concentrate for much longer than that anyway, and they might play an hour, but they weren't really working on anything. When it was that long, they were discouraged and got bored and it took the fun out of it. What we found was that my kids learned fast. And they played a lot more than that 15 minutes because they were getting it and playing for the enjoyment of it. It's amazing what 15 focused minutes can do. (Disclaimer - my kids were little and their practice time increased as they got older. Please do not hit your piano teacher over the head with this article when he or she tells you your child needs to do more!)
This principle can be applied to so many things. Five minutes at something every day of your life can change your life. Small things add up. It's so easy to say, "Well, what's five minutes?" but five minutes times 365 days can turn into quite a skill or knowledge set.
So with the Bible, I tried to get my kids in a daily habit, and they tied it to something to help them remember. Rinnah reads right when she wakes up. Rachel reads while she's doing her hair (she has a lot of hair, and has this magical ability to do it without looking while sitting cross-legged in the middle of her floor with a Bible in her lap). Toby reads his while eating his breakfast every day. You are going to wake up every day. You will eat food at some point in every day. If you have hair like Rachel's you will need to spend time doing it every day. Pick something as your mnemonic, and use that. My kids probably read the Bible for 5-10 minutes every day. That's it. We talk about what they are reading at dinner and it's casual. They might ask me a question about it while we're putting shoes on for school or when we're in the car. But they have read a tremendous amount over time because they do it every day, and I hope they are setting habits that will last their entire lives.
It is still a struggle for me personally. I love the Bible, but I know my tendency to be lazy about it. So for me, I make sure I'm always in an organized Bible study. That way I have built in accountability - someone is going to know (other than me and God!) whether I did my study at the end of the week, and that really helps me be motivated. Some people do not need that outside help, but I know I do, so I sign up and I ask God to help me be faithful, and He does!
There's an old hymn that has a line that reads, "There's a famine for the Word." It's true. How are we to represent God in this world if we don't know what He's telling us to do or who He is? The more I read and study my Bible, the more excited I get, the more connections I make, the more the Holy Spirit reveals Himself through the pages. It's changed my life and my entire world view. Just like my kids playing for fun after their practice time, that long obedience has gotten me excited to dig into the Bible at all times, not just when I "have to."
Don't miss that blessing! Don't miss out on one of the greatest gifts God has ever given us; the ability to know Him through His Word!
One of the Scripture songs on the new album is a great ending and reminder:
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteous so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Tim 3:16-17
Let's dig in to the Word so we can give out to our world!
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