The preacher challenged us, “Read your Bible for at least 5 minutes, every day.”
“I can do that,” I thought. “5 minutes is easy enough.”
In junior high at summer camp I decided to make Bible reading a priority. I got home from camp on Saturday, crashed on the couch for a couple hours, woke up, had dinner with my family and went right back to bed.
Until Sunday morning.
Just a few days before, I had decided to read my Bible more. At the Friday night campfire I had given a testimony in front of all those people that I was going to read my Bible more.
But that Sunday morning, I forgot. Sunday mornings never really started with Bible reading, so it never crossed my mind.
Remembering. The first hurdle I had to overcome in my Bible reading was actually remembering to do it! I knew I should—God had convicted me through the preaching—but it was hard to actually do. I had to, you know, work at it. I had to… try.
Too bad. So sad. I thought this “5 minutes a day” thing was going to be a breeze, but I failed my first day!
Have you ever been there? Can you relate?
I know a lot of people who know that they should read their Bible. I’ve even heard testimonies from people, like me, who committed to reading their Bible more. In front of everyone they said, “God, I commit to read my Bible at least ____ minutes per day.”
I have seen those people fail. Yep, just like me.
It’s hard! I get it! Just remembering to read every day is hard. Even if you make a commitment to God—it’s still hard!
Understanding. As if remembering to read isn’t hard enough, we also need to get it when we read. Or else the reading is pointless.
Granted, there’s a certain level of blessing that comes from just the discipline of reading your Bible every day, but the real blessing is in the content of what is there.
You have to get it.
It seems like it should go without saying, but just reading your Bible isn’t the real goal. You should understand what you’re reading.
For me, getting into the habit of reading my Bible began with a one-year Bible. I would read my section each day as faithfully as I could. When I would miss a day, I would work to catch up, but if I got too far behind, it seemed hopeless! There were too many pages to read!
Then, when I would get all inspired to “catch up,” I would end up speed-reading (read this as “skimming.”) The problem was, I didn’t understand any of it.
Even when I was reading faithfully each day and rarely missing a day (into my high school years), I still would not fully understand what I was reading. I would read, yes, but it only helped me a little.
I would catch a verse here or there that was a blessing, or I would see an old sermon note that would provide an outline of what I was reading. But I could never really step back and see the big picture. I never saw the Bible as a book… I always saw it as a collection of verses.
I read other books all through high school, just for fun. I read several Frank Peretti books, the Indian in the Cupboard series, a few of the Horatio Hornblower series, some Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries, all of Bro. Ed Dunlop’s books and more.
When I read novels, I knew what I was reading. I would start at the beginning, follow the author’s storyline as the plot unfolded, and reach the story’s climax with the author. I would conclude each chapter or section understanding what the author was saying.
When I read my Bible, though, I treated it like a different kind of book. Instead of looking at it like a novel where the author has a flow of thought, I treated it like I had always treated the Bible: I opened it to a verse and just started reading.
Do you ever do that with a novel? What novel do you open up to page 72 and just start reading in the middle of a paragraph?
Hopefully, BIBS gives you a little bit of structure to your daily reading. We want to start with Observation (birds-eye view), then move to Interpretation (understanding the text), and then Application (what’s it mean to me?)
Pay attention tonight to try to get into the author’s flow of thought.
FAMILY PRAYER BREAKFAST AND SATURATION SATURDAY – This Saturday, March 15, in prep for Bro. Dunlop.
COMBINED SUNDAY SCHOOL – This week with Bro. Dunlop
CAMP REGISTRATION – Turn in your reg. form and $50 before March 23
BOWLING – Saturday, Mar. 29. Cost is $10 for 2 hours of bowling. Please sign up.