Here at St. Andrew’s, we are fully committed to the received truth that the Bible is God’s word. We are also firm believers that the Bible is a gift to the whole Church, and every member is invited to enjoy the Scriptures.
We make time for those things that are important to us. So, we should expect that as Christians, we make time for God’s word. As we grow in our Christian faith and mature as disciples of Jesus Christ, we will grow in our love for the Bible. Yet, we often find ourselves struggling to find time for those things that we believe to be important to us. For example, many a parent has lamented how they wish they had spent more quality time with their children. In a similar fashion, many Christians spend far less time in worship of God, fellowship with the Church, and in the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading and prayer than we would like to.
Why is that the case? I think there are two main reasons for this inconsistency between our desires and our lived experience. Firstly, our actions reveal to us the true nature of our priorities. Although we claim to have God as our number one priority, so often we are distracted from him as we chase the things of the world instead. This reveals that perhaps we love God less than we think.
Having said that, the second reason for this is that we are weak and powerless to freely live as we desire. We will all have experience of Romans 7:15 – “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” We genuinely do love the Lord, and long to hear from him. But, as Jesus says, ‘the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’
There are genuine challenges that stand in the way of having regular, fruitful engagement with the Scriptures! But we trust that God, by his grace, will renew our hearts and lives, including in our reading of the Bible. Here are a few ideas that some may find helpful in cultivating healthy habits of Bible reading.
Firstly, Bible reading, as with the rest of the Christian life, is best done not alone but in community. Find ways of reading the Bible with others! Perhaps following the same daily reading plan, or actually meeting up to read. Maybe with members of your Growth Group?
Secondly, here are two phone apps that you might find helpful. The Bible is a big book, and it can feel overwhelming. ‘Redeeming Time – Bible Reading’ helps break down the Bible into smaller bite-sized sections. Instead of scrolling social media for a few minutes here and there, read the Bible instead!
Or check out ‘BibleProject’, a great suite of resources that make the Biblical story more accessible. The video overviews of each Bible book are a great place to start.
Lastly, for those who prefer to hear rather than read. Why not listen to the Bible read? The ‘ESV Bible’ app has a built-in audio player so you can listen while you’re on the go.
As in Psalm 1, may you find great blessing as you meditate God’s law and your heart is lifted and drawn to our glorious Saviour, Jesus Christ.