As I listen to Christian radio, I am struck by the daily struggles believers experience around the world. Proclaiming Christ in some of these locations can result in torture, imprisonment, or death. Their sacrifices for Jesus have gone farther than I could imagine for my own life. While they suffer for their faith, I go about my spiritual disciplines without consequence. I can evangelize to friends, pray in public, attend worship on Sunday morning, and give money and time without fear from government or radicals. I can also read my Bible.
Most Americans who grew up in a Christian household had a Bible before we knew what it was. We can readily find it on our mantle, in a cabinet, or on the nightstand. It’s on our phones and home computer. Chances are we even possess more than one. But why are we spending so little time reading it? We have been given so much through this book, but we tend to love it too little.
To grow in our faith in Christ, we must know Him more. So why don’t we spend more time in the Bible, the very place God has revealed Himself to us? We have many reasons. It looks intimidating. We don’t know where to start. We are overwhelmed by talk of translation issues or cultural considerations. And of course, we are very busy—our daily planners insist we have no time to spare for reading. I assure you, all of these can be overcome.
As a stay-at-home father, I can choose any time of day to do my Bible study, but that’s not always true for my peers. Many have filled their schedules with work and kids’ activities. Bible study is easy to cut out because it doesn’t come with a tangible payout—no paycheck or the potential for a college scholarship is attached. We are quick to forget our treasures in heaven are eternal. I try to relate to my friends with full-time jobs by reading the Bible first thing in the morning. My mind is clear, the house is quite, and the kids are sleeping. It is a great way to start the day and to remind myself of the priority God and His Word have to me.
We need to remember to value our relationship with the Lord by spending time with Him and in His Word. The woman who washed Jesus’s feet with her hair saw the weight of her sins, and she valued Jesus as great. As we prioritize our relationship with God, we should be reminded that people around the world value His Word so much that they are literally willing to die for it.
Some years ago, I decided I wasn’t going to be a Christian holding little value for the Bible, so I started reading. I read it all, and then I started again. It doesn’t have to be complicated—a quick online search gives many options for good reading plans. And a good commentary (I’m using the Moody Bible Commentary this time.) can help us to understand the authors, the cultural context, and how each book came to be included in the Bible I hold in my hands.
Tackling a book as big and important as the Bible can seem intimidating, but it is vital for our relationship with God. Don’t let your daily schedule or your questions stand in the way of knowing God through His Word. Pick a reading plan—and maybe a good study tool (You can find a good list to get started here.)—and just take the next step.