Personal Growth

Have You Fallen Behind Reading the Bible?

byChris Pennington

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man holding a Bible in his lap

If you walk into a gym right now, you’ll see a mixture of comedies, including fresh-off-resolution trainees pulling cables in all the wrong directions. Wait another week, and half of those newbies will be gone and discouraged before the month is over.

Resolutions can be sincere and still fall apart.

Perhaps you’ve set out with sincere resolutions for spiritual growth this year. Many Christians have long made a practice of daily Bible reading.

Today you may read this post with a similar sense of discouragement to our new gym-friends. You wanted to read the Bible, but you’ve already fallen behind your goal or stopped reading altogether.

Let me offer three encouragements to continue reading your Bible this year.

1. Reading is Listening

Reading the Bible is key to Christian growth because the Bible is a key means of grace. In other words, the Bible makes you spiritually grow (1 Peter 2:2; Acts 20:32), mature (Hebrews 5:11–14), and come to completeness (2 Timothy 3:16–17).

Too often Christians receive the truths of the Bible as merely practical or moral aid. Do you need to know which job you should take? The Bible can help you. Do you want help resisting temptation? The Bible can help with that.

While the Bible directs us in all areas of life, it is more than a personal how-to guide. The Bible reveals God to us!

In other words, reading the Bible is listening to God. It reveals God’s goodness (Psalm 119:15) and greatness (Psalm 119:27). As we listen to God, we come to know Him. And knowing God brings deep, lasting joy (Psalm 16:11).

Perhaps you’ve fallen a few days behind in your plan or feel like a failure. What’s the good in continuing on your plan if you’ll always be behind!? Today, God is speaking. Today, God invites you to listen.

2. Reading is Relationship

Perhaps you’ve hit a hard season in your marriage and you’ve realized you’ve failed your wife in some way. Imagine telling your wife, “Since I’ve failed you, I might as well just give up until next year.” She responds, “But I want to start to fix this! Today, I want us to take a step towards each other.”

If you decide to give up on your reading for this year, you’re telling God something very similar. At that point, it becomes clear the reading wasn’t about God, but about you.

If you find yourself in this mental spot, let me encourage you to admit your need to God. Admit that you are weak (Romans 8:26). He already knows! Admit that you are in need (Hebrews 4:16). He has mercy and grace to help!

3. Reading is Dependence

Today, especially if you’ve sensed your failure, admit you need God’s help. The Bible encourages us to be fully dependent on God while reading.

Spiritual insight is spiritual, after all (1 Corinthians 2:14–16).

Some of the most brilliant unbelieving minds in the world study the Bible (e.g., Hebrew linguists, textual scholars, etc.). For all their intellect, they are blinded to the Word by virtue of their unbelief.

When you read, read with God’s Spirit, dependent on God’s Spirit. You don’t merely need more knowledge or practical insight. What you need is spiritual insight, the ability to both understand and believe the Word of God.

The Spirit acts like a Master Gardener who takes the seed of the Word of God and presses into the soil of our hearts (Matthew 13:1–9). In other words, he takes the truths of God and causes our hearts to agree with them.

So let me encourage you to ask for spiritual insight (Psalm 119:18) and for the affection to believe and love God’s truth (Psalm 119:36).

Conclusion

If you’ve started pulling away from God by pulling away from His Word this year, remember that reading the Bible is listening, relationship, and dependence.

God—the God of the universe!—is speaking today. Today he wants to speak to you! Let his invitation ring loud in your ears and come to him in faith (Romans 10:17).

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