I have probably blogged enough on reading your bible. So I will finish with these few words on the topic (for now).
There is no great secret to developing your spiritual life, to growing more like Jesus, to having a closer relationship with him. It is not hidden, it’s not hard to find, it’s not even difficult. Can you guess what it is?
A couple of years ago Willow Creek Church in the USA embarked on a survey of their church members. The survey called 'Reveal' brought some surprising results on a lot of levels. They found that the number one way that people grew in their faith .....are you ready for it? .... was by reading their bibles. Yes I know, you are incredibly shocked at that!
Over and over again, as the survey has been done in many other churches, this is what they found. Reading your bible is the number one way people grow in their faith.
What more can I say!
I am still talking about reading our bibles regularly. As many of you would be aware the amount and accessibility of bibles that we presently enjoy is unprecedented in the history of humanity. In many ways the Protestant Reformation of 1517 was about the bible. Prior to this time there would have been one bible (at the most) in a village and this was normally chained to a table in the church. Not that many people could read anyway!
Because of this occurrence, the institutional church became the holder of the bible and the interpreter of what it meant for God's people. This is fine when everything is good and everyone has the best intentions, but you can imagine the opposite….
One of the Protestant Reformation’s gift to us was access to the bible (and that actually cost many lives) but most importantly we get to encounter God for ourselves. No intermediary, no barriers, no biased interpretation, just us meeting God – one to one.
I know this is simple. But in years gone by, this ‘simple’ was only dreamed of. Let’s enjoy the benefits.
I’m continuing on with this theme of reasons why we should all read our Bibles regularly.
When it comes to where we read, I think we should be creative. For some of us mornings are good, and getting up a little earlier will give us the space. But there are plenty of other times that can be maximised to enhance our faith.
I know some of you have a bus or train ride to work and they are great opportunities to read your Bible. You can even download the Bible to your phone or listen to the Bible via various apps which are free for you to download. It might be that you can grab some time at lunch or you could meet with someone else to read out loud together.
Even the last thing at night is a great time, going to sleep with God's words as the last thing you hear is a pretty good way to end the day.
As you can get from what I’m saying…. there are lots of ways to creatively engage with God's word. I’d be delighted to hear any more ideas that you may have!
Thank you to all those who have fed back to me their experiences and love of reading the Bible. It is really encouraging to see how many people love God’s word! Keep it up! Or if you haven’t made it a habit, the best time to start is today.
I’m pushing this agenda for a variety of reasons, one of them being that reading the Bible changes people’s lives. Maybe that should be written in red and with a big WARNING sign next to it!
Time and time again, peoples encounter with God's word results in lives being changed. When you get to hear the voice of God, of course your life is changed, altered and redirected.
If you want to be the same as you are, to continue on in life without any hassle from God or having your feathers ruffled then don’t read it!
BUT if you want to be different, if you want to make a difference for good in the world – then read!