One of the main things I don’t think Christians do enough is read the bible. I know I don’t. I went years where I never opened the bible, only hearing it occasionally when I would go to church. We think to ourselves, “I get it, I know the story. God created everything, the Jews left Egypt and wandered in the desert. Jesus came and died for our sins. What else do I need to know?” We treat the bible as if it’s some stale source of theology that is best left to our preacher, instead of what it is – God’s primary way of communicating to us.
I recently made a decision to start reading the bible again, setting the goal of reading at least a little bit every day. It’s hard to do. We have so many other things filling up our time, it seems like we can’t spare any. But that’s not true. Sure, we have a set amount of time every day, and we can only do so much. How we fill up that time shows us our priorities in life, and trying to make time for bible reading has made me realize that my priorities aren’t entirely in order.
Before I know it, after I get home from work and relax, it’s really late and I still haven’t made time for the bible. Somehow, I found time to watch a couple of youtube videos, read a ton of news stories, email my friends, IM people on gchat, comment on facebook photos, listen to music, play a bit on my guitar (that I’m still learning), and countless other fillers. All that, but somehow I have “no time” to read the Bible.
Even after a short time of concentrated effort at reading the Bible regularly, I feel the positive effects. Being in the word reminds us of who God is, what he has done, and what he promises to do in our lives. It also connects us directly to our faith. Protestant broke off, in part, because we felt that everyone had the right to read scripture for themselves. We don’t need it spoon-fed to us. We’ve taken something that our ancestors struggled for, and thrown it aside.
Beyond grounding us in the Lord, reading the Bible regularly also corrects us. It reminds us of God’s standards. The longer we are out of the word, and out of Christian fellowship, the more we think that we can just live “good,” lives. Good, of course, being defined by ourselves, and generally loosely. The Bible lets us know God’s standards very clearly. We can’t hide from what’s written on the page, and it serves as a useful tool to check ourselves and our behavior.
If you’re not already, I encourage you to take up the same challenge I have placed before myself. Read the Bible every day. Set a time, perhaps right before bed, and pick a book. Just start reading. Don’t treat it as some obscure, dense text. View it as the living word of God. You’ll be amazed how just this act can deepen your faith, understanding, and peace.