The Bible is boring.
Have you ever thought that?
It's ok to be honest if you have.
There have been times in my life when I've quietly kept a thought like that to myself. Although I've never loved the Word of God more than I do now, there are still times I find it challenging to keep my mind from wandering or to make it through some of the stretches of scripture that feel a little more barren. Some may find it surprising to discover that the more we read the Bible the more we end up loving it.
This past Sunday we began our new "Healthy, Wellthy & Wise" series by considering the massive potential that lives in our own personal Bible reading. If you missed the message, I offered some practical thoughts that I hope will help you discover how to encounter Jesus in thrilling ways through faithful Bible reading. You can find those Bible-reading tips by clicking here.
I find further motivation for faithful Bible reading from the inspiring examples from others in our church family:
Bill Bentley has told me about how much his life (not just his 'faith life' but all of life) has been strengthened by consuming more of the Word over the last several years by listening to it via the https://dailyaudiobible.com/ app on his phone.
Donna Biro told me that her favourite way to read the bible is 3 chapters a day - one Old Testament chapter, one from the Psalms (you could add Proverbs in there too, if you wished), and one from the New Testament. This approach brings you through the Bible in around a year and when you hit a list chapter of geneolgies in the Old Testament, you can know that you still get to enjoy something from the Psalms and New Testament that day too.
Joel Sedan decided to listen to the Bible on the Dwell audio Bible app while he was working (he is a painter). After the first few months of last year, Joel realized he had gone through the Bible more than 5 times! As a result Joel has a much firmer grasp of the story of God's redemption plan that spans the entire Bible.
Chris Gytenbeek had some extra time on his hands during a season of post-surgery recovery a couple years ago and decided to challenge himself to read through the entire Bible in one month. Chris found a chronological Bible reading plan (meaning it guides you through all the Bible in historical order) and started consuming the Word more than ever before. Chris told me about how this experience helped him get a good feel of the Bible's timeline, but more importantly, helped him to see and feel how desperately all of creation needs a Saviour!
Margo Stensrud told me about how exciting it is for her to read scriptures she knows she has read many times over before and yet discover how it speaks in new and fresh ways each time. She also told me about how in a recent year she decided to slow down her Bible reading so that she could allow for more time to contemplate passages and how God was being revealed to her through scipture. I was fascinated to hear her talk about how reading less of the Bible made her hungry for more of the Bible!
Do you have a bit of a hunger to be in the Word a bit more this year?
Whether that results in you reading more of scripture or just slowing down to consider things more deeply, may "the Word of Christ dwell in you richly" this year! (Colossians 3.16)
I know I wasn't alone in being fascinated by the findings that reveal the difference reading the Bible four times (or more) a week statistically makes for people:
Feeling lonely drops 30%
Anger issues drop 32%
Bitterness in Relationships drops 40%
Alcoholism drops 57%
Feeling Spiritually Stagnant drops 60%
Viewing Pornography drops 61%
Sex outside of marriage drops 68%
Sharing your faith jumps 200%
Discipling others jumps 230%
For those interested in reading an article that reflects on this study, you can do so by clicking here.
I suppose if we were reading the Bible just for the sake of reading the Bible, that could get boring. But reading it to experience the life of Jesus (which is the actual purpose of Bible reading - see John 5.39) is dynamic and exciting.
Let's discover the heart of Jesus through His Word in fresh ways together this year!