Recently I have been reading a book titled, “Reading the Bible for Life.” The purpose of the book is two-fold.
First, the author seeks to challenge his readers to make the decision to read the Bible on a regular basis. The second purpose is to help readers better understand what the Bible actually has to say and apply its teachings to their lives.
I know I serve in a church whose tradition says the Bible is the inerrant, infallible word of God, and I believe that to be true. I am happy to be a part of such a family of faith.
But I have one issue with many of those who make that claim. We say it is true. We hold the Bible up as God’s perfect word to us. But we fail to read it as we should. And when we do read it, we do not carefully apply its teachings to daily life.
There is an appalling ignorance of what the Bible teaches, even in our churches today. Far too few Christians could even find the book of Haggai in the Old Testament. And on the other hand, if I told some people that my message was from the book of Second Hezekiah, too many of them would believe me. (Just so you know, there is no Bible book by that name.)
What is the solution to the dilemma I am describing? Some would say that more preachers need to do a better job in their preaching and teaching, and that may be the case. Others would say that we need more Bible studies, and that certainly would not be a bad idea.
But I have to tell you that there is one step in the solution that many do not take. We need more believers to pick up their Bibles and read them.
So many people say that they cannot understand the Bible. They say it is too difficult. But that is an excuse.
Back in college, I took a class in old English literature. Do any of you remember, “Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote …?” Oh, yes. That is the first line from “The Canterbury Tales” by Chaucer.
I didn’t think I could ever understand any of that at the beginning of the semester. But before it was over, I actually enjoyed it.
Do you know what made the difference? I sat down, opened the book and read it.
And that is the only way to understand the Bible, too. Can I challenge you, if you are a child of God, to read his book? Certainly I want you to attend a Bible study and worship, too. But you need to read the Bible to hear what God will teach you.
It may be difficult at first, but God will help you in that adventure. The book is fascinating. Read it for life.