I have a confession to make. Reading through the Bible this year as a church family was my idea, but I wasn’t sure I was ready to commit to it, and then I had to be talked into it! You could say that the Holy Spirit nudged us to present the idea to you and to make such a time-consuming commitment ourselves! It was an idea that we were playing with, and God ran with it. I think He was pleased.
I’m a busy person. You can relate. Between work and seminary, kids and my husband, I couldn’t imagine how I would fit more studying in. When I have free time, I read for school or for an upcoming sermon. Even an extra twenty minutes a day can be a bit of a stretch.
However, this is the third time I’ve read through God’s Word, and this time it has brought even more blessing to me than the commitments I’ve made before. This was a time with God that I needed in my life.
God knew exactly what I needed.
I’ve talked with some of you about reading the Bible. Some of you get discouraged. Some of you don’t feel you have time. Perhaps you don’t have a Bible you like or understand. Some of you have remarked that it’s hard to find what you’re looking for in the Bible. You might even say that it’s boring. There are many reasons for not reading the Bible, and I can relate to them.
I remember a time that I felt embarrassed for not being able to find something quickly, while others in Sunday School could turn easily to the lesson of the day. Like any commitment, it is so easy to fall out of the habit, and it is difficult to return.
This month, because I feel so strongly about the difference the Holy Spirit makes in our lives when we commit to reading God’s Word, I offer a few suggestions:
1. Be open to something new. Hearing a pastor tell you that God’s Word is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness is one thing, but experiencing that truth through your own study is really another. Trust it’s true that God will work through your opening of the scriptures to hear from Him. Give it a shot, and be open to something new.
2. Consider the opportunities. One of the best ways to commit to reading and learning from God’s Word is attending a Bible study. Orenco offers Monday and Tuesday morning studies, as well as Wednesday evening and Sunday morning classes. You’ll see in this newsletter that two new evening studies begin soon, as well. Look at your newsletter to see what might fit your schedule and interests. When you attend a Bible study with others, you will find deeper understanding and relevant discussion, as well as accountability.
3. Buy a Bible you like. Someone asked me about their Bible’s translation recently and expressed that she didn’t understand it and doesn’t like reading it. If that’s the case, find another. Ask a friend or pastor for a recommendation! I am convinced a key to reading the Bible is to have your own and to bring it to church with you. Mine is getting a bit wrinkled and worn, but it’s well-marked, and I wouldn’t trade it for another.
4. Don’t be afraid to write. I purchased my current favorite Bible about four years ago, and at first I didn’t write in it. But I’m a visual person – before long, I was underlining and highlighting verses that impact me, as well as writing in the margins and even using colored pencils from time to time. Don’t be afraid to write in your Bible and to study it … deeply.
The Bible is something special. Do you remember the first you ever received? Do you have Bibles that were gifts from your parents or pastors or others special in your lives? These scriptures are a gift to us. God’s words speak to us in new and fresh ways each time we read and ask to hear from God. My hope and prayer for you is that God will bring you much joy, wisdom, and insight from your commitment to reading His Word and to hearing from Him.