As Christians, we are called to be a people of one book, the Word of God. The Word of God is not a book of fairytales and myths. The Word of God is given to God’s people; Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:16 to instruct us in the Truth. The Bible is the Word of God—the authoritative, inspired, sufficient, and without error Word of God. You might have read 2 Timothy 3:16 before or perhaps even heard a sermon on it and that’s great. You likely believe that the Bible is the Word of God and that’s awesome. The focus of this article isn’t on describing that essential doctrine of the Christian faith. Instead, this article has more to do with how you the reader are doing in the area of daily Bible reading and getting into the Word in community with other Christians yourselves.
Reading the Bible in Community
When you open one of the New Testament Epistles and read it have you ever stopped to consider that they were written to people doing life together in community? Take for example Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, or Colossians, Ephesians, and so on. Paul wrote to people he dearly loved, where the Lord had sent him to preach the gospel and start local churches in these cities. It was there that Paul proclaimed the gospel and taught the Word of God in community. It was there in the throes of the local church the great Apostle Paul engaged in ministry to God’s people and non-Christians.
As Christians living in the 21st century, especially those of us living in the West, we are often tempted to think in terms of our own time and how we are the greatest thing since sliced bread. We think we are the only one’s often times who have had a good or helpful thought. Yet, that’s not only a dangerous thing to think; it’s also not biblical. Faithful men and women of God have gone before us and read and studied the Bible, seeking by God’s grace to be faithful teachers of the Word. So it makes no sense for us to deny any of this, or as C.S. Lewis said to engage in chronological snobbery and suggest we have no need of other teachers. We have need of teachers. Paul says that one of the main offices in the church is a teacher in Ephesians 4:11.
While we do have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, we still have great need of teachers. The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth and always points us to the sufficiency of our great High Priest Jesus Christ.
Sometimes I’ve heard Christians say that they have no need of a sermon. What they are really saying is that have no need to be taught. They have no need for a sermon, or so they think. They’ve mined the depths of God’s Word and know it all according to their view of the Christian life.
Now, I’ve been a Christian a long time, actually thirty-one years, since I was five years old. In that time, I’ve never met one mature, seasoned Christian who has said that they have no need of more biblical teaching and to learn more about the Christian faith. Even though I’ve been to Bible College and seminary, I know I still have a lot to learn. I may “know” a lot about biblical and systematic theology, church history, and more, but having multiple degrees in theology doesn’t mean I know everything. Nor does it mean I practice what I know, although I seek to do so daily by God’s grace.
Often it’s thought, “Well my pastor or that ministry leader, he’s been to Bible College and seminary, and so they must know everything.” That’s simply not true. Your pastor may know more than you; especially if he’s been to Bible College or Seminary. Yet, that doesn’t mean he is above the need for encouragement! If he is honest, he realizes that he has a lot of room to learn and grow as he’s confronted with this reality each and every day of his ministry. There are no super saints. There are only humble saints seeking to learn and grow daily from the fount of God’s Word.
The true Christian life is not opposed to the local church. The normal Christian life is intimately connected to the life and community of the local church. As Christians, we gather together on the Lord’s Day, in small groups and gender specific groups (Men’s and Women’s Bible studies) for this very purpose.
As Christians, we are called to be a people of the Word. We are not just to dabble in the Bible. We are to daily drink deeply from the fount of the Word. We are to invest the best time of our day and our lives into the Word of God.
The Word of God: A Feast to Be Enjoyed
At my best moments as a Christian, which let’s be honest are few and far between, I attempt to read or listen to my Bible every day. Some Christians believe that this is required and I won’t disagree with them. Reading the Bible though is not to be a checklist. If we ever treat the Bible as only a book, we check off from our daily list of tasks to do then you, and I have missed the point. The Bible is not a novel. It is not something we read once and then stop reading. This is the Word of God we are talking about. This is the Book of all Books. It’s vital that we see that the Bible has a unified theme running through it—the scarlet love letter of redemptive history centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Bible is more than just a collection of stories and myths. The Bible is meant to be a feast we daily enjoy.
Make a Plan to Daily Feast on the Word
As this article comes to a close and as you reflect on your daily Bible reading allow me to encourage you. Your daily Bible reading is meant to help you grow in Christ. It is not meant for you to check something off your spiritual to-do list. The Bible is meant to be daily delighted in. Whether you listen or read the Bible for five minutes or several hours a day, the point is not the quantity of time, but quality time.
How are you doing at quality time in the Word of God today? Are you just breezing through your Bible reading thinking, “Well I just want to get to this other book?” Are you more interested today in reading a novel or another Christian living book than your Bible? It’s time that you took stock of where you stand today and move forward in your understanding of the Bible. As Christians, we are to be a people of the Book of Books—the Word of God. It’s time that you feasted for yourself before the feast God has prepared for you in His Word.
I want you right now to begin to think about when you will enjoy quality daily time in the Word of God for yourselves. It’s not enough to be convicted about your lack of daily Bible reading. It’s not enough to just have the right convictions or thoughts on this topic. You and I need a plan of attack. We need to be people who not only say we are going to grow in our knowledge of the Bible; we must put into action what we say we will do.
I urge you over the next thirty days to make a new habit of daily Bible reading. Take five to ten minutes each day during the next thirty days and read the Bible slowly. Digest what it says. Ask questions of the biblical text. If you don’t know the answer to the questions ask your pastor or others you know who have theological training to help you answer your questions.
You see we have a great need of one another in the local church. The Bible was never meant to be read and studied alone. Just as the epistles, for example, were given to local church communities in the time of the Apostles so today, we have a great need not only to hear the Word preached on the Lord’s Day but also to study it together in smaller groups, in addition to daily on our own. Let’s not just say we will do this brothers and sisters. Let’s make practical strides by God’s grace each day to grow daily in our knowledge of God’s Word ourselves. You and I need this more than we ever dared imagine. So get in a comfortable chair, pick up your Bible, and enjoy the feast God has prepared for you in His love letter, the Word of God.