In the past two or three months, whenever I went to various churches to preach, one common question I would ask the congregation was, “Do you pick up the Bible daily to read? If so, please raise your hand.” Very few in the congregation would raise their hands; no more than 5%. In other words, for every one hundred Sunday worshippers, less than 5 of them read the Bible daily. For every 1000, less than 50 read the Bible daily.
What do you think? Do we rejoice in this Bible reading situation? Or is it a discouraging situation? Of course we rejoice for those brothers and sisters who read the Bible daily, but the future challenge is for the majority of brothers and sisters to begin reading the Bible daily.
Why do brothers and sisters not read the Bible? Why is the Bible so “heavy”? How do we get everyone to pick up the Bible daily? How do we arouse interest in reading the Bible? Allow me to suggest three reasons and solutions:
1. Is the Bible too boring? (Love letters need to be read with feelings)
Most people think the Bible is too boring; after reading it for a while they cannot continue. When I was young, I decided that I would read the Bible all the way through. But when I got to Genesis chapter 5, I saw the many names of people, and I saw that many people were born, lived to a certain age, and then died. So I “died” too, I could not continue. In this manner twice I resolved to the read the Bible, and twice I was unsuccessful. Why? Because at that time I was not yet born again. I did not have new life, and so I thought the Book of Life (the Bible) was very boring. Do you feel that the Bible is boring? Can it be because you have not been born again?
Later at 19 years of age, I understood that I needed Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour. It was only then that I was born again and received new life. The most obvious change was that immediately I began to have great interest in the Bible. From that time on, I would read the Bible through at least once every year, and even to this day, I read the Bible with tireless delight.
Brothers and sisters, when you receive a letter written by your loved one, you would not want to put it down, and you would read and re-read it. You would even put the love letter under your pillow, and in the middle of the night, take it out to read. You would think about it day and night.
God loves you. When you trusted in Jesus Christ, you received his love, and God became the one you love. The Bible is the love letter God has written to you. You must love to read it, you need to use feelings to read it. As the Psalmist says, “…for I delight in your commands because I love them. I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees.” (Ps 119:47-48) “…but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” (Ps 1:2)
Is the Bible too boring? No, as long as you read it with feelings for God.
2. Is the Bible too hard? (A will needs to be read with wisdom)
Some people think reading the Bible is too difficult, too hard to understand, so they do not want to read it.
Of course there are difficult passages in the Bible, as Apostle Peter said, “… just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Pet 3:15b-16)
But most of the Bible is easily comprehensible, only a minor portion needs in-depth study. We cannot give up and lose many eternal blessings, just because of those few difficulties. Imagine you have received a will, containing your relative’s final words, written by a lawyer. The language used by the lawyer may be difficult, but you cannot throw away the will just for that!?
The will contains the treasures left to you, you need to study it carefully and understand it, no matter how difficult it is. What a pity it would be to miss out on the inheritance!
The Psalmist also said these about God’s words, “I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.” (Ps 119:14) “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” (Ps 119:18)
Is the Bible too difficult? No, as long as you rely on God’s wisdom to read it.
3. Is the Bible too “high”? (The Bible needs to be read with the heart)
Some people also believe that the requirements set in the Bible is too high and cannot be followed, so they do not dare to read it.
Actually that is a wrong perspective. Whether in the Old or New Testament, the word of God refers to its commandments as difficult but not hard to obey.
In the Old Testament, Moses said, “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.” (Deut 30:11-14)
The New Testament also says, “In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” (1 Jn 5:3-4)
Is the Bible too “high”? No, it has already come down from the heavens, as long as you read it with a heart of surrender to God.
My dear brothers and sisters, in the past few months, besides asking about daily Bible reading, I also asked the congregations, “Have you finished reading the Bible at least once? If so, please raise your hand.” As you can imagine, there are very few. Are you one of those who have finished reading the Bible? Actually, a normal Christian must read the Bible through once every year. Spend 20 minutes every day to read 3 or 4 chapters, and you can finish it in a year. Remember when you were baptized, you made a vow, “I promise to read the Bible diligently”. It is time to fulfill that vow, brothers and sisters. Let us read the Bible more diligently!