Have you read the Bible lately? I mean, have you really read it for personal insight and direction for this (sometimes) crazy world we live in? If you haven’t, I know four reasons why you haven’t. Actually, they’re pretty good reasons, so let’s start there. You haven’t read the Bible for your own personal growth for quite a while. Here are some reasons why:
- You got a lot of that in Sunday school as a kid. Even though you know better, you’ve convinced yourself you’ve “been there, done that,” and you know all that stuff.
- You just don’t have time. Life is busy. Besides, there are e-mails to check and TV to watch. You’re working harder for fewer results. Life is just too stressful.
- When you last encountered the Bible, you started at the beginning—where else? You got bogged down about 50 pages in, where the subject turned to a bunch of ceremonial laws from a civilization that became irrelevant about 15 centuries ago.
- As you read the Bible, you encountered old, archaic words we don’t use anymore. It became harder to understand than Shakespeare. You quickly surmised it’s written for Bible scholars, and you set it aside.
If those issues fit you, your first reaction to my suggestion that you read the Bible is probably, “You’re crazy!” Keep reading. A few insights and a second try could greatly improve your life—honestly! Let’s look at these four hurdles again:
- You got it in Sunday school. Maybe you did, and maybe you didn’t. But you’re a different person now. You’re older and you’re facing a world with a lot of challenges. Most people are surprised how helpful the Bible can be—if you overcome some of these hurdles.
- You’re right, you’re busy. Life is hectic. But most of us find time for what we really value. My life is very demanding. I travel a lot, teach, write, work with churches, and run a tree farm, as well as enjoy my family—along with a few hobbies. But I wouldn’t miss my chance to read the Bible each day. I mean, it helps me understand life—a lot. You won’t know the value unless you give it a try. But how you try will make all the difference. Let me explain in the next two points.
- The Bible was written over many centuries. It has several kinds of literature. It’s not just a book, but a collection of books. So, here’s an odd recommendation. Don’t start at the beginning. Start with the book of Proverbs. These are wise sayings, based on divine wisdom. Mix in some of the Psalms. These are the words to songs, and like songs today, they have some great lessons for life. Then read the Gospel (“Gospel” just means good news) of John. Then read Luke. Then try Philippians (named after a group of believers in a church by that name). But this won’t work for you unless you are sure to follow my next step.
- Get a modern translation of the Bible. At first you might object, remembering the Old English version you grew up with. That’s because you got hooked on the words (even though you didn’t understand some of them). They sounded like poetry or “religious.” Trust me, God is not hung up on the words, but the meaning. Just try a modern translation. Go to a Christian bookstore and ask the clerk to guide you toward the newest in translations.
Give it a try. You will discover a treasure chest of value for life. I promise! So does the Ruler of the universe. Now encourage everyone in your church to do the same. You will add value to everyone.
What keeps you reading the Bible? Please share your experiences below.
Kent Hunter is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, or you can visit www.churchdoctor.org.