Reflection on the Importance of Daily Bible Reading in 2017
The Greek Mathematician and Philosopher Archimedes once said, ‘Give me a lever and a place to stand, and I will move the world.’ Certainly, that is a comment on the value of levers – but also on the importance of a firm place to stand. As you consider moving the world (or at least your part of it in 2017), it is good to consider where that firm place is—and how to stand on it. It is my contention (and that of Christendom) that firm place is the Bible, and we stand on it by immersing our minds with it through regular reading and memorization.
Here are four reasons to read the scriptures in 2017:
- Regular reading strengthens your mind. If you do not consider yourself a reader, be encouraged: this strengthening effect is particularly true for those who do not already read much. Think of it like muscle confusion in exercise. Doing things we are not comfortable with or as good at actually build strength faster than just more of the same. In Matt 22:37, Jesus encourages us to ‘love God with all our mind’, which means we must use it and use it to reflect on His Worth and Excellence.
- To take a firm hold of reality. Reality is often different than it seems. Many things appear to be one way on the surface, but when we pay closer attention to them, we find they defy our expected patterns. Who then is more qualified to help us navigate such a confusing world than the Author of that reality? Hebrews 4:13 says, ‘And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.’ God is Primary Reality and everything He has made is secondary. He has given us a book of books in the Bible to help make us wise. We should make use of that gift. Reading broadly and deeply in the scriptures will help you to continue to develop categories of thought that help you to grow in your understanding of God’s world.
- To give you hope. The apostle Paul wrote about the scriptures, ‘For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us,so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.’ (Romans 15:4) There are many perplexing challenges facing us individually and corporately, and it is easy to get discouraged. Reading the scriptures broadly and deeply encourages us as we see there is a direction and purpose to history, and that God is directing that flow for the good of those who trust Him and the blessing of all nations through His son Jesus. As Paul says, regular reading of this story will teach us endurance, so that we will not be worn out by every day of trouble that comes to you.
- You will meet Jesus. There are many excellent books in the world, worth our time and energy to read them. But there is no book like the Bible. Jesus was described as ‘the word made flesh’ (John 1:14), but it works the other way, too. He is embodied in the Word. Therefore, as you read it, ask the Holy Spirit of Jesus to teach you and reveal Himself to you. This is the relationship that changes everything, and we know Jesus primarily through the Bible.
3 Tips for Putting it into Practice
- Get a realistic perspective. The Bible can be an unfamiliar and challenging book. We should relish and reflect on that which is readily understood, and push through the fog where it is not. The good news about the fog is that within it are more wonderful truths waiting to be revealed, if we are patient. That place of wrestling to get understanding is where the best growth happens.
- Get a good study Bible. This can help you work through the foggy places by providing additional background or information to understand the different times and places the Bible was written. There are many that will work. One example is The Reformation Study Bible. It uses a readable modern translation (ESV) and has excellent notes, maps, articles and charts to help you as you trek through the Bible.
- Get a Plan. There are a variety of good plans, and the best one is the one you will stick with. The Discipleship Journal is customizable and can help you read through the bible in 1,2,4 years, or at your own pace. The plan is attached below.