There’s an overused saying: “If all else fails, read the directions.” In Church Doctor research of thousands of Christians in worship, we ask people if they read the Scripture, personally. Fewer than half say they read the Bible at least once a week. Few read God’s Word more often.

In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, the third chapter, the apostle begins with a laundry list of bad behavior associated with “difficult times.” Before we look at that, do you believe we live in a “difficult” time in history? Is this a hard time to be a Christian?

Here is Paul’s description of the general population, which results in hard times. He says that people will be “…self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God” (verse 4).

I don’t know about you, but it sounds to me like Paul was having a really bad day, or was he describing a week’s worth of your favorite television newscasts?

In a complete turn of tune, Paul shares with Timothy, “You’ve been a good apprentice to me.” Here, he’s talking about discipling. He describes the discipleship process: “You’ve been … a part of my teaching, my manner of life, direction, faith, steadiness, love, patience, trouble, sufferings…” (verse 10).

Based on that description, who has discipled you? Who have you discipled? Who are you discipling now?

This is a major challenge. Jesus modeled discipling. So did the disciples. It is like apprenticing. The Lord’s Great Commission, to you and to me, is clear: “Make disciples.” It’s a one-on-one process. And it goes hand-in-hand with lifelong regular Bible reading.

The Bible is the Christian’s only manual. Perhaps that is why Paul follows up, saying, “There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (verse 16).

Paul continues, “Scripture is God-breathed and useful … shows us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way.” Paul summarizes: “Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us” (verse 17).

Is daily Bible reading a part of your lifestyle every day? Or your weekly Bible reading? With all the modern translations, at such inexpensive prices, why do you think most Christians don’t read God’s Word regularly? What impact does that have on your church? What does that mean for your nation? Your world? Your family? Our future? Your future?

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