While on vacation, we spent several afternoons in Barnes & Noble cooling down, enjoying the Starbucks and air conditioning. I saw a huge display of twilight books, and it made me do some thinking. I know many people who have read through the entire series in a very short amount of time, typically in under a month. I did a little research and found that the total number of words in the twilight series is very close to the total number of words in the Bible. You can do the math, most people don’t read through the Bible every month. So why do people struggle to consistently read through the Bible?
Is it a lack of passion? of time? of ability?
I have been reading through my Bible using a one-year plan, and I find myself getting behind when things get crazy. But in the last two days, I have read two complete books on my Kindle. Again, I find that disturbing.
I think the real reason we don’t read the Bible passionately is that we lose perspective of the incredible story of God.
When reading a novel, it’s easy to get lost in the story, to get consumed with the suspense of what is going to happen next. But for some reason, when we read the Bible, we lose sight of the incredible story of God’s love for us. We have the story of how God created the world, how he set everything in motion, how Adam and Eve sin, how the nation of Israel is established, and the story of how God redeems His children through Jesus Christ. The New Testament details the life of Jesus, his death, burial, and resurrection, the start of the early church, and how the Gospel message is spread throughout the world. It’s the most incredible story ever told! And yet I’ve heard people say that it’s boring and that it doesn’t relate to their life. When you see the Bible for what it really is, God’s love letter to mankind, it changes your perspective. You develop a hunger and a desire to let it speak into your life and transform you. And you can’t read it fast enough.
When I first started reading my Bible in college, I couldn’t put it down. I was fascinated by the New Testament. I had heard the stories as a child and as a teen, but I had never really applied them to my life. Looking back, I think it was the most intense and fastest growth I have ever experienced as a follower of Christ. I learned what it meant to follow Christ through reading the Bible. I truly believe that you will not see spiritual growth in your life if you neglect the reading of God’s word.
Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in Charlotte has challenged his entire staff to read through the Bible in 90 days. When I first saw his reading plan, I thought it was a little crazy. But now I’m starting to see wisdom in his challenge. Yes, it is good to slowly read and meditate on scripture, but there is something about regaining our perspective of God’s compelling story. And when we are fascinated by a story, we can’t put it down.
Great post. Sometimes it's important to read a version of the Bible that makes the story easier to follow. A lot of people swear by the King James Version, but according to many scholars and theologians this version is one of the worst translations, not the best. I think many people should try the New International Version and like you pointed out; approach it as a story with a begining and an end, not just passages.
It's so much more than a historical record of ancient civilizations. It's active and living, and it speaks directly to our hearts. I agree that a modern translation makes it easier to read. I am reading through the Bible in the ESV right now, but I also use the NIV and NLT for devotional reading. Thanks for sharing!