Resolved to Read #bity
This article follows on from a sermon I preached last Sunday.
As we approach the New Year, news services suggest making resolutions that can change your life, from smiling more, maintaining a health and fitness regime, getting enough sleep, to even having more sex, all with a view to being happier in the long term. Without saying too much about that (ahem), I want to suggest a resolution that will go much further than this common sense advice, so much so that it will catalyse an internal revolution, a spiritual detox, a realignment with capital T unchanging Truth that’ll transform you for the better from the inside out because it’s beliefs that drive behaviour and that’s what leads to lasting change. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what the Bible every day from cover to cover can do for you.
I love this list Mike Bullmore put forward in the helpful how to read the Bible Gospel Coalition booklet:
1) It initiates faith: “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17).
2) It gives new spiritual life: “You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Pet. 1:23).
3) It helps us grow spiritually: “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2).
4) It sanctifies: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).
5) It searches the heart and convicts: “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
6) It liberates: “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32).
7) It refreshes and renews: “Give me life according to your word!” (Ps. 119:25).
8) It revives and enlightens: “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Ps. 19:7; see also vv. 8–11).
And above all, it’s through the Scriptures, by the Holy Spirit that we encounter and enjoy fellowship with our wonderful Triune God. He is alive!
One of the most common problems I’ve observed in my time in ministry is that Christians are not really reading their Bibles. They’re given a delicious Bible-loaf of bread, they look at it, they hold it, they smell it, and then they put it away. They fail to break a bit off, chew it and digest it.
Over the next two years we’re giving our church people the opportunity to read the Bible together using the helpful outline the Gospel Coalition have put together. We don’t want people to rush through what they’re reading but to have time to stop, meditate, and apply it to their lives, which is why we’ve decided to do this over two years. A little daunting yes but then, you read the Bible the same way you eat an elephant; one #bity at a time.
We’ll be tweeting insights into every day’s reading and preaching into parts of each Sunday’s passages on Sunday evenings to support you, if you make the right decision and decide to read along with us. Check out the earlier post with more info. of how to get involved.
When a copy of the Bible was given to our Queen at her coronation it was described as “the most valuable thing this world affords”. Many good people, like William Tyndale, were even tortured and burned alive so that you could have a copy to read in English. In many countries, like North Korea, people are banned from reading it. Isn’t it time we made the effort to really read it?