Hearing God's Word - Part 2
Some people find it insulting that followers of Christ need to exhorted, prodded, and challenged to discipline themselves to read the Bible. USA Today polled Christians in American about their Bible reading and they found some staggering information. They discovered that only 11% of American's read their Bible daily. More than half read it less than once a month or never at all. Barna research uncovered some of the same numbers when it polled "born-again Christians". It discovered that 18% read their Bible daily. However, the most staggering number was the 23% that never read it at all.
Jesus often asked questions about people's understanding of the Scriptures, beginning with the words, "Have you not read . . .?" He assumed that those claiming to be the people of God would have read the Word of God.
When Jesus said, "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4), surely He intended at the very least for us to read "every word."
Since "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16), shouldn't we read it?
Revelation 1:3 tell us, "Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near." God promises that those who read and heed His Word will be blessed. But only those who discipline themselves to do so will receive those blessings.
A 1980 survey by Christianity Today and the Gallup Poll supported this when it concluded that; "no factor is more influential in shaping a person's moral and social behavior than regular Bible reading." If you want to be changed, if you want to become more like Jesus Christ, discipline yourself to read the Bible. The only way to become like Jesus is to put Jesus in you; see John 1:1-3,14.
How often should we read it? British preacher John Blanchard, in his book "How to Enjoy Your Bible", writes, Surely we only have to be realistic and honest with ourselves to know how regularly we need to turn to the Bible. How often do we face problems, temptation and pressure? Every day! Then how often do we need instruction, guidance and greater encouragement? Every day! To catch all these felt needs up into an even greater issue, how often do we need to see God's face, hear his voice, feel his touch, know his power? The answer to all these questions is the same: every day! as the American evangelist D.L. Moody put it, "A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough for the next six months, or take sufficient air into his lungs at one time to sustain life for a week. We must draw upon God's boundless store of grace from day to day as we need it."
Here are three practical suggestions for consistent success.
1. Find the time. You can listen through the Bible in approximately 71 hours. This may sound like a lot of time but the average American watches this much TV in two weeks. You can read through the entire Bible in a year using only 15 minutes of your day. You can read through the entire Bible in less than three years using only 5 minutes of your day. You must discipline yourself to find the time. Make it the same time every day. Make it some other time than just before you go to sleep
2. Find a Bible-reading plan. Apart from a specific plan, reading thee chapters every day and five on Sundays will take you through the Bible in year's time. There are a myriad of Bible reading plan. Find one that works for you and then use it.
3. Find at least one word, phrase , or verse to meditate on each time you read. Meditation is key to Bible absorption. If meditation isn't practiced retention will not occur. If meditation isn't practiced change will not take place. Remember we discipline ourselves in Bible absorption for the fruit of a changed life.
We should all have the passion for reading God's Word of the man in this story. Evangelist Robert L. Sumner, in his book "The Wonder of the Word of God", tells of a man in Kansas City who was severely injured in an explosion. His face was badly disfigured, and he lost his eyesight as well as both hands. He had just become a Christian when the accident happened, and one of his greatest disappointments was that he could no longer read the Bible. Then he heard about a lady in England who read braille with her lips. Hoping to do the same, he sent for some books of the Bible in braille. But he discovered that the nerve ending in his lips had been too badly damaged to distinguish the characters. One day, as he brought one of the braille pages to his lips, his tongue happened to touch a few of the raised characters and he could feel them. Like a flash he thought, 'I can read the Bible using my tongue." At the time Robert Sumner wrote his book, the man had read through the entire Bible four times.