Do you ever use the concordance or the “selected topics” sections in the back of your Bible? Yes, there is a place in the back of your Bible where you can look up subjects and words and find almost any and every verse they pertain to. Sometimes, I’ll turn to the back, look up a word and see all that God has to say about that topic. Do any of you actually read your Bible? Really read your Bible?
I love to read in general. I am self-declared nerd who has an obsession with all things written. If I get my hands on a book, I want to know everything about that book. I usually read the reviews and praises, acknowledgements, the dedication, the introduction, the epilogue, any and every appendix, (and this is really admitting something), but sometimes, I’ll even read that very first page that tells the reader where the book was published, when it was published, and by whom it was published. I always find it fascinating to associate different authors with different publishing companies. Yes, I am obsessed with books. Big deal, we all have our issues.
I am also a self-proclaimed seeker, lover, and follower of Jesus Christ. He happens to have this book called the Bible which, I must say, has some jaw-dropping, eye-opening, ear-splintering truth in it. Guess what – the Bible happens to be my most favorite book of all time. Seriously, I’m not just saying that because I am writing a blog about it, but rather because I know it is the only book that has ever been written that has nothing but absolute truth in it. Most of the self-help books that proclaim truth and guidelines to a better life are just the authors’ opinions. If you go and get five self-help books, most of them will contradict each other on the right way of living, but the Bible does not contradict itself. The Bible is the Word of God. The Bible is the only book that can give the truth on the right way to live.
Have you ever played the “desert island” game with people? You ask everyone what items they would take with them if they had to live on a deserted item. Sometimes, you might do categories: books, movies, magazines, food, drinks, or the hard one is when you can only take three things total including food, supplies, whatever. Some people will respond with a boat or an airplane so that they can get off of the island, but obviously that’s not allowed. You are supposed to respond with smart and practical things like medical supply kits, matches, blankets, a knife, a tent, dehydrated food. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they respond. I have changed my answers every time I’ve played, but to my knowledge, almost every single time I’ve played, I’ve listed the Bible as one of my three things. When asked why, my simple response is: to keep me sane! The Office did a hilarious episode a few years back about which three books the cast would take if they were stuck on a deserted island. Of course, Dwight gave the funniest response by saying he would take a hollowed out book with supplies inside the book. He was thinking practical whereas everyone else was thinking for entertainment purposes. He was worried more about his survival than he was his entertainment meter. Yes, it was just a game that the people were playing, but Dwight had the right idea. You won’t have much time to read if you don’t have food, water, heat, or shelter – those are just the things your body needs.
Back to the mainland, where we thankfully have plenty of food, water, clothes, and shelter, our physical needs are usually met above and beyond what we need. But what about our spiritual needs? How many have fed your spiritual side today? This week? This month? This year? Almost everyone owns a Bible, but few rarely read it! Your extent of looking at the Scriptures exists solely on Sunday morning when the pastor tells you to turn to Isaiah, Luke, Psalms, Ruth, or Hezekiah… (I really hope most of you realize there is no book called Hezekiah in the Bible, and if you did not then you really need to start flipping through the book more than you are.)
Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in our hearts to God. – Colossians 3:16 (ESV)
How can the Word of Christ dwell in us if we don’t actually read it? How can we know the truth about Christ if we do not read His truths in His Word. The Word of God is a beautiful, priceless gift that so many of us have, and yet we don’t take advantage of its wisdom. The Bible is God’s message to His people. In it is all the wisdom that any man or woman needs to succeed on the journey of life, but we must read it, and we must put it to practice.
If anyone wants to truly know God, he must read His word. The Word of God is food for the soul. No one can grow unless he seeks His Word and hides it in His heart. People ask me about my relationship with God all the time. Shockingly, it seems odd to people that at the age of 20, I can be in love with Jesus Christ, but its because I read His Word that I have been able to do so. In it, God has revealed himself to me over and over and over again. It’s gotten to the point, that I have to read God’s word first thing in the morning when I get up, or I don’t function right as a person. I need His word. I crave His word.
To fully know, trust, and love God, you must read His word! If any of you truly want to grow in Christ, I encourage you to pick up your Bible and start reading even if it is only five minutes a day. Go to the Psalms and read one Psalms, or read a chapter of Proverbs according to which date it is for you.
That’s how I started years ago. Believe me, I didn’t read the Bible every single day of my life when I was younger…oh no, that was just the book for Sunday morning, but I’ll never forget when I actually started doing a daily Bible study. My tenth grade Bible teacher did a lesson on the importance of the Word of God. He challenged his students to do a Bible study every morning when they got up. He promised us that we would tell a difference if we started focusing our mind on Christ first thing in the morning. Now, I had grown up in church, so I felt like I knew God’s Word, and I didn’t need to read it every morning, but I am not one to back down from a challenge. The scariest part was I didn’t know where to begin. The Bible is a big book! Where on earth do you even start reading? Someone suggested reading a chapter of Proverbs everyday for a month being there are 31 chapters in it. So I did that. Then I started reading the Psalms. Then I started working my way through the New Testament. My teacher was right: it did change my life. It changed my perspective on everything! I started viewing things through the Word of God. Now, I don’t read the Bible every morning because I’m obligated to, but because I want to. Because I love it! It is my bread of life!
So I am going to challenge you: open up the Scriptures. Start reading a little bit everyday, and see what God opens up to you.
For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints, and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12