While I spend quite a bit of time reading and studying the Bible, that reading and studying is often connected to my preparation for Sunday morning messages or other “work” related efforts. While that is certainly important to me as a pastor, it is also important that I spend time reading and studying the Bible for the development of my own Christian faith. By that, I mean for my own personal growth as a follower of Jesus as I seek to live out my faith in the world today.
There are several reasons doing this. First, the Bible is the primary revelation of God and his purpose available to us today. If we want to know how God desires us to live and what God desires for us in life, then the Bible is the place to begin. Second, the Bible keeps us grounded in the faith. There are many currents and philosophies in the world that compete for our attention and allegiance (rampant consumerism and self-centeredness are two that come to mind). These can sneak up and envelope us without us realizing it. A knowledge of the Bible can help to keep such currents in check. Third, the Bible offers us hope and guidance as we seek to be God’s people. In the Bible we encounter people–often quite imperfect people–who sought to serve God. Their experiences can inspire us, comfort us, challenge us and give us hope.
There are many ways to read and study the Bible and there are more resources available to help us do this today than at any other time in history. For instance, I am currently following a reading plan called “The Essential Jesus” that selects 100 passages of scripture that give insight into the nature, person and teachings of Jesus. Each morning, I receive an email with the passage for that day. I then have the choice of reading the passage straight from the email, can go to it online or open it in a printed version of the Bible. It is a great way for me to not lose sight that I have committed myself to this process.
One of the greatest challenges facing the church and individual Christians today is that we have gotten away from spending time in the Bible. How often do you read the Bible? If you feel you are not reading it enough, what would help you read more? If you would like to explore this further, either Deann or I would be willing to help you find the resources to assist you in becoming more grounded in the scriptures.
God bless, Hank