Reading scripture has had a profound impact on my life. It’s amazing to me that I can read the same verses multiple times and find something – even slightly – different to take away from it. I know that’s because my experiences and whatever issues at play in my life at the time lead me to seek different things as I read.
I think that’s pretty powerful. And I want you to feel that power as well.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us, “Every scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training character, so that the person who belongs to God can be equipped to do everything that is good.” (Common English Bible)
That short passage reminds us that the Bible can be used to teach us. It can show us when we are doing something wrong that impacts our character. And, most importantly, the Bible equips us to do good in this world.
The Bible can do many things, but it can do none of that if we aren’t reading it. And in today’s world, there’s really no good excuse for a professing Christian not to study scripture. There are numerous options and study aids meant to provide a meaningful experience each time you sit down to reflect on scripture.
For example, I’m on my seventh journey through the Bible. My first was as a child, when my grandmother bought me “The Picture Bible.” It basically was a three-volume set of comic books with the biblical stories shared in chronological order. It’s how I got to know names like Moses, Gideon, David, Ezekiel, Peter and Paul. I still have that Bible.
I’ve had the privilege of facilitating Disciple Bible study – in my case Disciple I – two times. While you don’t read every verse of every book in Disciple I, you do read a large portion of the scriptures. To this day, leading Disciple Bible study is my favorite ministry in the local church.
One trip through the Bible involved me listening to CDs (remember those) of Eugene Peterson’s translation known as “The Message” as I worked out on the treadmill each morning. Let me tell you, nothing gets the heart pumping more than jogging as you listen to Leviticus. At least I didn’t fall asleep while exploring The Law!
Another trip through the Bible involved a daily reading, in chronological order, of the scriptures thanks to the YouVersion app on my iPad. By reading anywhere from three to six chapters a day, I finally obtained a decent grasp on when the events of the Bible took place and, therefore, had a better understanding of the context of what I was reading at the time.
I also read “The Story,” which blends scripture with narratives to tell the chronological story of the Bible in a way that reads like a novel.
Finally, my current trip has me embracing my inner kid once again by reading “The Action Bible,” another comic book-style way of telling the story of redemption and grace provided by God to a broken humanity. Needless to say, the artwork has advanced significantly in the almost 40 years between my first time through the Bible and this current journey.
I’m not trying to be like the Pharisee in Luke 18. This rundown of Bibles isn’t meant to put the spotlight on me, but rather to help you see that if you aren’t reading the Bible regularly, you have a lot of fun options.
Thanks to Bible apps for your phone or tablet, daily devotions (don’t miss the conference’s new opportunity) delivered straight to your email inbox, and the plethora of free websites out there, you can grow closer to God by reading scripture every day.
God wants a closer relationship with you. Allow your Creator to speak with you on a daily basis by reading scripture. Give one of the options I mentioned earlier a chance and see how uplifting the practice can be each and every day.
Enjoy the journey!
Todd Seifert is communications director for the Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church. He can be reached via phone at 785-414-4224, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Great Plains Annual Conference or the United Methodist Church. Follow him on Twitter, @ToddSeifert.