Last January the American Bible Society released a study of the most “Bible-minded” cities in the United States. Our city was ranked number one. Knoxville, Tennessee was listed first in residents with the highest levels of regular Bible reading and belief in the accuracy of Scripture. While I am happy that our town led this list I am puzzled at the lack of “Bible living” that is seen on a daily basis. Belief affects behavior.
One year later I can tell you that the greatest need in our city and in my own life is for more attention to be given to the Word of God. Not lip service or academic discussion. Diligent, personal, obedient study of God’s revelation to man.
As society advances in technology and deteriorates in morality the void within the heart of man grows greater. In our age of complexity the simplicity of Scripture brings such rest and peace. It seems that all of humanity is crying out for the one thing that is right in front of them.
And then there is my own heart, and yours. Where can we find the wisdom and guidance for each new day? How can we know God in a greater way? The Word of God is sufficient for every need in life and eternity.
My pastor has announced that the theme for our church this year will be “A Revolution Back to the Bible.” When I think of a revolution I imagine public demonstrations and massive change. But this revolution begins in private. It is about personal transformation. God changing me through the power of His truth.
It seems that across the nation there is an intensified hunger for God’s Word. Recently one op-ed contributor gave a challenge for people to actually read the best-selling Book through this year. (You may read the article here.) On the other end of the spectrum is a recent cover article in Newsweek against the Scriptures. Christians will rightly bristle about the attack on God’s Word…but will we give the same zeal to our own reading of the Bible?
Let me share a few starting points that I intend to use this year:
- Get an unused copy of the Bible to read through. I have many well-worn and marked Bibles. They are precious to me. But there is something good about walking through the Bible again like it was the first time. No “old notes” to distract or remind you that you have been there before. It is an old Book but we should read it as if it was just given to us. I have taken a new Bible that was given to me recently and committed to read through every page of it this year. This week a friend wrote to tell me that she was doing the same. Will you join us?
- Choose a portion of Scripture to memorize. A particular chapter of the Bible has been brought to my mind again and again over the last few days. It is convicting. Powerful. By God’s grace I want to commit it to memory this year. Certainly we could memorize more than one chapter, but we can begin there. Memorize Scripture so that you can meditate on it every day.
- Begin a systematic Bible reading plan. You may use one that has been created by someone else or come up with your own. Either way there is something helpful about having a plan. You always know where you are going and you keep coming back for more! (You may find several helpful Bible reading schedules from Faith for the Family here.)
- Give some attention to God’s Word each day with your family. Find the time that works best in your home. It may be early in the morning, around the dinner table, or at night before going to bed. Read something from the Bible and use it as an opportunity to have a conversation about spiritual things.
- Adopt one book of the Bible as your book for this year. I must confess to you that my book for 2015 is the same as my book for 2014. Last year I chose the book of Hebrews to study. I didn’t finish. That is the story of our lives at times! Select some book that you want to understand more fully and commit to digging through it this year. (Read a previous blog post about studying unfamiliar books of the Bible here.)
These are just a few ideas. I would love to hear yours. Don’t wait for a national return to the Word of God. We pray that will come. Begin where you are. Let’s work together to make this year the year of the Bible in our hearts and homes.