Hebrews 5:12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
Recently, I took part in an online survey from a large Christian publishing house. The company was trying to promote yet another new version of the Bible, and the survey dealt mostly with the packaging and cover of the book. It was interesting to complete because the publishers were asking pastors their views on how the new Bible should be marketed to people in the congregations that we serve. I must admit, the whole process made me actually wonder whether or not we truly need another version of the Bible at all!
Never before in the history of Christianity has the Word of God been more accessible to people everywhere. Folks can read the Bible in traditional book form, or as e-books online, on their laptops and notebooks, as well as on their mobile devices and smart phones. It is instantly available, practically anywhere on the planet, so no one can have the excuse of not being able to find a Bible to read. However, it appears that people are actually reading the Bible less and less; even although we have it literally at our fingertips, Christians are become Biblically illiterate and so end up creating their own ideas, opinions, and beliefs about God.
You don’t think so? Ponder this: two generations ago, most church people could recite the Ten Commandments, say the Lord’s Prayer, name the twelve disciples, and quote a whole list of Bible verses. Three generations ago, they could do all of that, as well as listing the books of the Bible, and stating the chapters where you could read all of those things. Sadly today, people who often quote that we should not judge each other because Jesus said so, or that we should all love one another because He commanded it, could not tell where to actually find those sayings in the Gospels (Matthew 7 and John 13).
As Christians, we ought to be People of the Book, not for legalistic reasons, but because the Word of God needs to be cherished in our lives. Daily readings should be a constant in our daily lives because each day that we wake up, is actually a gift from God in the first place.
I think it is time to recommit ourselves to a quiet devotional retreat with God’s Word every day. It’s not hard to get back into the habit – think about it, there are things that we do each day without burdening ourselves – like reading the newspaper, catching up with folks on Facebook, or even watching a nightly TV show. It can be done, but only if we truly want to do it.
Questions for personal reflection
Am I really too busy to spend time alone with God in prayer and Bible reading? Who gave me this life I am living anyway?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we want to follow You and grow in faith. Help us to recognize how important the Scriptures were to You, and how crucial they are in our spiritual lives today. Give us the focus and determination to set aside some quality time with You, Your Words, and Your Way. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s image is one of John’s Lent bulletin drawings for this year. If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: Lent Bulletin Cover.