I recently read that only 18% of profession Christians in America read their Bible on a daily basis. I try not to be surprised by statistics but that one left me a bit unsettled. I used to groan at the “read your Bible, pray every day” mantra I heard almost weekly in sermons as I was growing up. I remember looking around and, trying to beam my thoughts to the pastor, would think to myself: “You’re beating that drum again? Haven’t we all got this one by now? Can’t we move on?” Apparently not.
I was listening to the audio version of Donald Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life on my drive into work today. Early in the book he reminds readers of the absolute necessity of daily immersing ourselves into God’s Word. But why? Why do I need to read the same book every day for the rest of my life? Is it really that important? Well, in a word…yes! “Yes” doesn’t cover it though. If I was standing in front of you I would jump up and down, waving my arms, getting red in the face and proclaim loudly: YES! So I want to take a couple of days telling why:
- Because the Bible is God’s message to us.
Christians have historically held that God communicated his message to certain me whom he chose (usually prophets or apostles) so that they could record it for others to read and hear. The Bible is a compilation of those messages. Such a view is affirmed in passages such as these:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16, ESV)
knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20–21, ESV)
These writers were not simply recording their own thoughts and feelings, God spoke to them himself and gave them a message that he wanted us to hear. Think about that for a second. That book which is often a dust collector (or, in 2012, an app that never gets opened) contains a dispatch from the creator and sustainer of life itself — a memo written to you!
I once received a form letter from John McCain asking for money for his presidential campaign, but other than that, I don’t get much mail from really important people. So for me, the thought that God wrote a book for me is a pretty big deal.
I realize skeptics could raise many objections to the claims that I’m making. God…writing a book? Get real! I know, but many other more able scholars have dealt with the skeptics. I’m writing to Christians who know and believe the scriptures are from God but don’t live as though they really believe it. It is more than “the Good Book”, it is more than a devotional, it is more than a collection of cool stories or even some life principles that should guide our lives. It is God’s Word. Read it, believe it and put it into practice.
To be continued…