Brandon D. Smith: Through my work with the Christian Standard Bible, I came across some stats about Bible reading. Eighty-eight percent of American households own a Bible, but only 37 percent of people read it once a week or more. People said they don’t read their Bibles because they don’t have enough time, and they struggle to understand the words. These two frustrations are understandable, and we’ve all struggled with them. But are they the real reasons people aren’t reading their Bibles? Root Issue When you think about it, we should get really excited about Bible reading. The God of the universe has given us his Word. He could’ve tapped out when we disobeyed him in the garden, but he didn’t. He went looking for us and talked to us (Gen. 3). Knowing our gracious God gave us his Word should make us want to read it, but often that’s not enough. We don’t read the Bible regularly because we don’t understand how it works. We
This post is adapted from Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture by John Piper. The Blinding Enemy Outside Satan is real. His main identity is “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). His way of lying is more by deception than bold-face falsehoods. He “is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). Therefore, he hates “the Spirit of truth” (John 15:26). He hates God the Father from whom the Spirit proceeds (John 15:26). He hates the Son of God, who is truth (John 14:6). And he hates the word of God because God’s “word is truth” (John 17:17). Therefore, he will do his best to take away the word, if he can, and twist it, if he can’t—the way he did in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1) and in the temptations of Jesus (Matt. 4:6). Jesus described how Satan takes away the word: “When anyone
Kristen Wetherell: Why is Bible reading important? Most Christians know they should read their Bibles. But often, our Bible reading can feel dry and insignificant. Why is it so important for us to read this book? What’s the urgency of it? Ruth and Naomi’s story in the Old Testament reveals some urgent truths through illustration about why we need our Bibles right now and every single day. We should not bypass these truths because they are the difference between spiritual life and death; between conviction and apathy; between joy, peace, and strength and discontentment, anxiety, and fear; between knowing some things about Jesus and knowing Jesus intimately. Here are five reasons that you desperately need the Bible, as illustrated in the book of Ruth. You need the Bible so your soul doesn’t starve. Threat of starvation loomed before Ruth and her mother-in-law. They moved back to Bethlehem after their husbands and sons died, leaving them without male protection or provision.
Helpful advice from Matt Smethurst: When it comes to daily (or not-so-daily) Bible reading, January 1 can be a welcome arrival. A new year signals a new start. You’re motivated to freshly commit to what you know is of indispensable importance: the Word of God. Yet this isn’t the first time you’ve felt this way. You were entertaining pretty similar thoughts 365 days ago. And 365 days before that. And 365 days . . . you know how it goes. So what’s going to make 2015 different? What, under God, will keep you plodding along in April this year when staying power has generally vanished in Aprils of yore? From one stumbling pilgrim to another, here are five suggestions for what not to do in 2015. 1. Don’t Overextend “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars!” This hackneyed high school yearbook quote is bad advice for most things, Bible reading plans not excepted. If you
Dan Doriani: In the past month, I learned that two more Christian leaders whom I know have either tarnished or destroyed their ministries. Neither was a friend, in the full sense, yet I’ve been friendly with both men and respected their talents and the fruit of their labors. Once again, I wonder: How could a man who studied and knew Scripture and taught it faithfully to others, brazenly violate its most basic principle of love and self-control? Even as I ask the question, I know I’m liable to self-destructive sin too. Everyone needs Paul’s admonition: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted” (Gal. 6:1). Self-aware leaders know that we can violate principles we thought we knew. But how can we repent quickly and keep from hardening ourselves to God’s voice as he calls us back to himself? Leaders stumble for
By Ron Man: The Word of God is of supreme importance in the life of the Christian, containing as it does God’s revelation of his Person, his will and his ways. The Word needs to be pored over, ingested into one’s mind and heart, meditated on, and acted upon. It is a unique and precious repository of spiritual truth and guidance and encouragement. There is no aspect of the life of the church or of the individual believer that should not be tied to a scriptural mooring and infused with biblical substance (2 Tim 3:16-17). The Bible is indeed ”a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps 119:105). When Christians gather for corporate worship, it is logical that the Word of God should play a central and dominant role. For since worship involves focusing our thoughts and hearts and voices on the praise of God, in response to his self-revelation and his gracious saving initiative, we
Tony Reinke: Reading the Bible cover-to-cover each year is a resolution that is both noble and realistic. Today we have many apps and guides to help us with the process of our Bible reading. But at the start of our new year it’s helpful to look at the aim of our Bible reading. Why do we read the Bible? In addressing biblical counsellors in 2002, Pastor John [Piper] explained it this way: I have a burden for my people right now, just like I do for myself, that we get beyond propositions and Bible verses to Christ. I do not mean “get around” Bible verses, but “through” Bible verses to Christ, to the person, the living person, to know Him, cherish Him, treasure Him, enjoy Him, trust Him, be at home with Him. I want to count Him more to be desired than all other things — wife, husband, children, success in career, leisure, vacations, health, food, sex, money. He’s more precious.1 And Bible reading is meant to
Matt Smethurst: When it comes to daily (or not-so-daily) Bible reading, January 1 can be a welcome arrival. A new year signals a new start. You’re motivated to freshly commit to what you know is of indispensable importance: the Word of God. Yet this isn’t the first time you’ve felt this way. You were entertaining pretty similar thoughts 365 days ago. And 365 days before that. And 365 days . . . you know how it goes. So what’s going to make 2013 different? What, under God, will keep you plodding along in April this year when staying power has generally vanished in Aprils of yore? From one stumbling pilgrim to another, here are five suggestions for what not to do in 2013. 1. Don’t Overextend “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars!” This hackneyed high school yearbook quote is bad advice for most things, Bible reading plans not excepted. If you shoot for and miss