‘So … how’s your Bible reading going?’
I wonder if anyone from church has recently asked you that question. More to the point, I wonder if you’ve recently asked anyone that question? It’s a pretty simple question but I’ve found it a really helpful way to kick off the kind of gospel-shaped conversations that are encouraged in Ephesians. If the answer comes back positive, the conversation can easily turn to sharing what you’ve read recently in the word of God – the perfect opportunity to speak the truth of God’s word and build each other up in Christ (see Eph 4:15-16)! If the answer is an uneasy string of ‘umms’ – well surely this too is a perfect opportunity for you to encourage your brother or sister in Christ to grow in the knowledge of God’s Son (see Eph 4:13)!
As we start asking questions about Bible reading, the reality is that there are many people in our church who are struggling. In fact, if you’re ever tempted to think you’re the only one – you need to think again! However, while it may be true that many of us struggle to be consistent in reading the Bible, this doesn’t mean we should just accept it. Instead, we need to keep growing in this important means of grace.
So what can we do to improve our practise of Bible reading? The most obvious answer is also the simplest– just do it! The reality is that sometimes our previous good habits can fade away and we just need a reason to get back on the horse. In fact, it could be that reading this article is the very kick-start you need – or perhaps it will be that conversation after church when someone comes up to you and asks … ‘So … how’s your Bible reading going?’ In whatever way the encouragement comes, this coming week is a great time to get back into a habit of your own personal reading of the Bible!
Another way to improve your Bible reading is to get your hands on the book ‘Taking God at His Word’ by Kevin DeYoung. The book explains in clear and simple language what exactly God has given us in the Bible and why we should love reading it. The main focus of the book is unpacking these four truths about God’s word:
• ‘God’s Word is enough’ – In the Bible, there is everything required for us to know God and to understand how we should live as his people.
• ‘God’s Word is clear’ – God has communicated Himself to us through the pages of Scripture and so we can be confident in understanding what he is saying to us.
• ‘God’s Word is final’ – The final authority in matters of life and doctrine is the Bible.
• ‘God’s Word is necessary’ – ‘We cannot truly know God, his will, or the way of salvation apart from the Bible.’ (pg 87)
Another of my favourite chapters in the book raises the simple question – ‘What did Jesus believe about the Bible?’ (pg 95) As we come to appreciate the way our Lord trusted in the Scriptures, well surely we should have the same attitude!
While it’s a good and helpful thing for us to understand the nature of God’s word, these truths are also incredibly practical in shaping our attitude to the Bible. As we grow in our appreciation of why the Bible is so special, this will encourage us to really make an effort to read it. In fact, the first chapter of the book is a wonderful reflection on Ps 119 encouraging us to delight in the Scriptures in the same way as the Psalmist.
My challenge for you today is to ask someone in your congregation about their Bible reading. Depending on how the conversation goes, you might even suggest that you both get a copy of this book, read it, then chat about it in the next couple of weeks. It might just be the encouragement you both need!