Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Reading the Bible

I’ve been asking Christians, “What are you reading in the Bible?” “How often do you read the Bible?”

Seldom do I get a definitive answer to the first question, it is usually along the lines of, “Oh I read here and there.” To the second question seldom anyone says that they read the Bible daily, for most people Bible reading is sporadic at best. Some folks will tell me that they read a daily devotional with a Bible verse but that they don’t actually read from the Bible – a daily devotional may be nice but it is not the same as reading the Bible.

I read the Bible out of desperation; I read the Bible and ponder it and meditate on it because I desperately need God and desire to live in union with Jesus Christ. I read the Bible because I know the gravitational pull of sin and death and this age will suck me into its mental and emotional vortex if I do not abide in the Vine. I read the Bible because I know that His Word must be preeminent in my life if I am to be of any help to others. I read the Bible because I am a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother, a neighbor, a friend, and an employee – I desperately need the indwelling Word of God to fulfill those roles, to be the person God has called me to be in those relationships.

Yes, I realize people can know the words of Scripture and miss its message and spirit – but there isn’t much danger of that today because few people actually know Scripture.

Some folks may read the Bible legalistically, thinking that they are gaining merit or favor by doing so – that is a trap.

In one sense, for the Christian, reading the Bible is like eating food – we eat food to live; we meditate on God’s Word to participate in the life of Jesus Christ. I have never felt legalistic when eating food – I usually enjoy food.

Reading the Bible helps form our paradigms of life, it helps fashion the things we think about and the way we think about life, it prioritizes our words and deeds, it guides our decisions, it directs our energies. If God’s Word is not doing the foregoing then other things are and those other things, while they may not always be evil and while they may even appear good, are generally not the things of the Kingdom of God and do not have Jesus Christ as their focus.

What does Bible reading look like in your life today?