Saturday, March 31, 2007

Concentrate on Reading the Book, Instead of Books About the Book!

These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. --- Acts 17:11

It is true as has been observed in the book of Ecclesiastes that of the "making of many books there is no end" -- in the realm of Christian publishing there has been an explosion at times of both fiction and non-fiction books. Some authors have churned out a dozen or more titles and are still going strong!

A large number of books have been devoted to some aspect of the Bible and its many subjects. I have been asked from time to time if I have read a certain book by an author who has become quite well known. TV preachers/evangelists have also added to the lengthy list of books produced.

While this is not meant to advocate a "book burning" crusade, but it is an appeal to do a bit of soul searching -- for each of us, the critical question is this -- in comparison to my reading of newspapers, magazines, and books written about the Book, how much time do I devote to reading and study of the Bible?

By admission, a huge number of professing Christians admit they give little time to the Book of books -- in far too many cases, there are days in which the cover of the Book is not even opened! And among those who claim to have been on the way for years as a "Christian" the confession is made that they have not read through the Book completely even one time!

Surveys uncover the embarrassing fact that Bible illiteracy is a most serious problem among those professing to be Christian in their faith, and this takes in all age levels!

Why should we not concentrate on the Book? After all, we have the very best Instructor available -- the Author of the Book Himself! Note Jesus' promises in regard to the Holy Spirit in His teaching capacity as it applies to Christians in John 14, 15, and 16. The promises are very specific in regard to knowing the truth and learning of things yet to be!

But being a Gentleman, He will never force us to sit down and spend a half hour or more daily in the Scriptures.

So, how about it? Ready to rearrange your daily schedule so that you are giving more time to the Book and let that book written by Dr. Whoever about the Book lie on the shelf and gather dust for a while? You might be surprised at what a difference it will make in days to come!

PS Someone may ask, "Well, do you practice what you preach on this -- and do you spend time in your Bible everyday? The answer is "Yes!" -- for a long time I have been on a morning devotional pattern which takes me through the Bible in one year and the New Testament twice plus additional reading and study in various portions, especially the Old Testament prophets. And when I do give some attention to a book about the Book, the book and its author are always scrutinized in the light of THE BOOK! Notice the quote at the beginning about Paul coming into a place called Berea and preaching -- what did the people do? Read it again!

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. --- 2 Timothy 3:16,17


Billiam said...

I definitely need to read The Book more. Good one..

PA Maverick said...

If this country is going to get turned around spiritually, morally, and ethically, it will come about in part when a great majority of the citizens see the need to search the Book daily and then follow to the letter the instructions given therein! Will it happen?

Wesley Matthews said...

I do read a lot of (non-fiction) books, but the last Book I read each day is the best!

Normally, I do read the Bible through in a year. A few years ago, I got a yearly chronological Bible. That was very helpful with “putting it all together” as it happened.

Last year was the first year I made the decision NOT to read the entire Bible completely through. I instead focused only on the New Testament, reading and studying. I think it really helped me.

This year I am focusing on the Old Testament. I hope to get a better understanding of it as well.

I still do have my morning (The Upper Room), noon (Our Daily Bread), and evening (Drawing Near) devotionals as well, so I won’t be without the New Testament completely!

My daily Biblical readings take about 1 hour a day, but I find that is not enough time.

Is there a better or more efficient method to reading/studying the Bible that you can recommend?

PA Maverick said...

One additional discipline which can be incorporated into further pursuit of Biblical understanding would be a Bible study guide in either a topical format or on a particular book of the Bible. Christian book stores have a wide variety of these, which are sometimes used in Sunday School classes, Bible study groups, etc. Usually there are about 12 or 13 lessons in one of these. Questions are asked and you look at the references given and then write down your response. A word of caution here -- one has to be careful due to the study guide author having his own "pet" doctrines which may be reflected in his comments on the subject -- if they are in harmony with the Bible, OK, but if not, then one has to reject the error/s.

On daily devotions, titles such as you have mentioned are good. One we use in our congregation is called Bible Pathway -- this is the one in which you will go through the Bible in a year's time if daily readings are followed. Another strong point is the use of illustrations and maps. For instance the tabernacle and its furnishings are pictured in an artist's rendering as they might have looked.

You can check into this at Bible Pathway Ministries This I highly recommend above all others.

Most critical is the need for Christians to be grounded in their faith and to be able to articulate the particulars of the faith based on what the Scripture says, not on personal opinion -- try to avoid the "I think" expression -- move to "I believe....because...God's Word says in (ref to text)" That way the issue always is one between an individual and what God has to say about the matter, with God having, as always, the last word!