My church is emphasizing personal Bible study during canceled services. I’m not a reader. What do I do?
A: Your plight is shared by many people. I understand the difficulty and assure you that God is aware also. He is the one who walks with you through your life, so he knew you would be facing this part of your journey with him at some point. This also means that you have a helper; a built-in reading-assistant who immediately comes to your aid when you decide to try to meet God in the pages of your Bible. As you commit yourself to the task of reading, which for you feels like work right now, it will eventually become easier and you’ll miss it when you don’t do it. I promise. God empowers every person to read the Bible, and he even created all kinds of translations that will fit your unique ability.
How do I know? Because I suffered from the same problem in my early years with God. I had to pray, “Holy Spirit, help me,” every time I opened the book. I was given a study Bible (which helped immensely!) in the NASB version - not an easy read, but I took the challenge. I decided I was going to read a chapter a day and I stuck to it even when I hated it. God worked miracles! It wasn’t more than a couple of months before the words on the pages began to make a lot more sense to me as the Holy Spirit answered my prayer. I began to enjoy it so much that I read one chapter every day for 10 years. Now I’m a Bible teacher. Who knew? God did.
Bible study is one of the things about being a Christian that is vital. Our Savior is called “the Living Word” in the book of John. We meet Jesus in person (in the spiritual realm) the minute we take time to read his book. Not only does Christ embody every word of the Bible, the Holy Spirit inspired the writing of it: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17, NIV). Here’s one way to look at it: when we take time to read and study the Bible, we are taking time to invest in our relationship with Christ. We’re thanking him for the investment he’s making in us.
Another important point we must remember is that the Bible is an offensive weapon, according to Ephesians, chapter six. The Apostle Paul lists our armor in detail; the pieces of protection God gives us against the darkness. “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” (Ephesians 6:13-17). You’ll notice that all the other pieces of armor are used in defense of the enemy’s attacks. Only the Sword of the Spirit, the Holy Scriptures we’ve ingested which then come out of our mouths in our daily conversations and prayer, are wielded toward the opposition like a blade. If we want a good life, we must read the Good Book.
I know you can do it. I also know you’ll enjoy it if you give it a chance. Start in the book of John, okay? God bless your efforts, my friend!
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Ask Pastor Adrienne column: Bible study for nonreaders