By Cody Phillips
Reading is hard. I said it. Sounds silly to say, I mean, I’m writing an article hoping people read it. So, maybe it’s not “hard,” but it can be a nuisance. Karen Prior, an English professor at Liberty University, states in her book On Reading Well that “24% of adults have not read a book in the last year…only 46% of adults have only read one book in the last year.” After I asked some friends about this, the stats hold up. One main reason they gave for not reading was, “I can get more out of a movie or a TV show.” Touché.
For a movie maniac like myself – I can’t argue with this. I love movies, and I will get a lot out of a movie. In comparison to a book, movies and tv shows are short, sweet, and concise. As disciples of Christ this poses a problem. God gave us His word through a book and not a Netflix Original series. So, how do we get the most out of reading our Bible? The same way we get the most out of movies and tv.
Be Faithful To It
Every now and then a show comes around on my Netflix feed that automatically takes priority. I stop every other show that I have been dabbling in because The Crown just dropped the latest season. Don’t act like you don’t do the same.
Our spiritual aptitude and attitude relies on our spiritual disciplines. Any priority you have in your life has a plan to remain a priority. What is your strategy? The good news is that our desire is there, but we sometimes lack in planning and prioritizing.
Be faithful to the discipline of Bible reading. Whether it’s the first thing you do when you wake up or the last thing you do before you go to bed. We can’t expect to get anything out of it if we treat it like the show that’s constantly playing on Netflix. It deserves our attention and affection. Find your best time, when you can concentrate and have the least number of distractions. For me, it’s first thing in the morning. The house is quiet, and no one else is up. If I start in on projects or reading the news, I never get to reading the Bible.
Be Faithful Through It
Don’t just skim it but meditate on what the text is really saying. Find out who the author is and who they are writing to. Of all the choices, why do you think the author specifically chose this story or passage. See John 21:25, where each page and each passage has a purpose.
After reading, in the back of my journal, I write the date and the passage I read. This way I don’t have to try to remember where I left off the day before. Don’t skip around or play Bible Roulette. Finish one book before going to another.
One way to consistently read through the Bible is to find a reading plan on YouVersion. If you are keeping track of what you’ve read, you’ll eventually work through the whole Bible. Nothing is more discouraging than picking up the Bible and reading at random every day.
Be Faithful To Tell It
I always enjoy a movie more when I can talk about it with people who have seen the same movie. I get the most out of it when I talk to the people who watched the movie with me. I remember staying up late with friends and family continuing to debate a good movie.
The same is true with the Bible. If we want to get the most out of our Bible, then reading in community is key. Find a group of believers and read through scripture together. Discuss what you’re learning through it. What God speaks to someone may be what a member in your group needs to hear. There’s a verse in 1 Timothy 4:13, “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture…” In this verse, Paul is instructing a young preacher named Timothy in the ways he can keep his congregation engaged.
Of course, in those days, few people knew how to read, meaning that unless someone read the Scriptures aloud they would never hear them. It’s vital not to underestimate the power that public Scripture reading still has for us today. Reading alongside other people guards us against distractions and provides us with fellowship. It’s a practice that God’s people have always done to remind themselves of who they are and what they are called for, and it’s still a powerful practice for us today.
In conclusion, when it comes to our Bible reading: be faithful to it, through it, and to tell it. While Bible reading can be intimidating sometimes, the Holy Spirit will come and be our guide and encourager. Psalm 1 tells us that those who mediate on His word will bear fruit in every season. His word is timeless and never returns void.