I recently challenged myself to increase my intake of scripture. No, I’m not eating the pages of my bible, just making time to take in more of God’s Word. As a pastor, there are so many schools of thought on how we should use the bible. There’s our devotional time, our study time, and our reading time. Study time can consist primarily of sermon preparation but also can include bible studies you lead. So some pastors try to get by with reading a few chapters a day and preparing their sermons.
While sermon prep time can be rewarding, actually reading the bible has its own benefits. Devotional time usually includes a few chapters and that’s it. I enjoy my quiet times in the morning with my coffee and my journal but I wanted more, much more. I recently purchased the Bible translation I use on MP3 discs and transferred them to my MP3 player that I use when I walk or travel in the car. I primarily listen to music and audio books on the player but I decided to include bible time as well. In fact, I set aside time in my mid-day to listen to an entire book if I can and take notes if I’m able. This week, I’ve listened to First John 3 times already. I’ve made some notes for potential sermons, but I’ve also begun to grasp some overall concepts that perhaps I’ve missed in the past. I also have my bible on my Sony Reader eBook device so I can read several chapers if I’m found to have some time I wasn’t counting on (late appointment, waiting in line, etc..).
The point is, I’m spending more time listening to what God is telling me. The audio bible has benefits I never thought it would. While I still read devotionally and spend time in sermon prep, I now have increased my intake of God’s Word by 30-to-50 chapters a week simply by listening to it as well. My prayers are more fulfilling, my spiritual walk has improved, and I believe it’s helped my sermons I present each week.
I understand how hard it can be for someone who’s never read the bible to start picking it up and reading it daily but really, it’s the only way to spiritual growth. Habits can be made and priorities changed if our desire is in the right places. When I was working 50-60+ hours a week in radio, I still found time to read each day because it was THAT important to me. Think about it. How much time do we waste watching meaningless television shows and yet, we cannot find the time to read 30 chapters of scripture each week? This would take less than a half hour each day and yet, I’m always amazed at the people I talk to who feel powerless in their Christian walk but do not read the bible daily. They cannot see the connection between growing in Christ and reading His Word.
So how much is too much for you? Is it worth the investment for meaningful life change? I think so and I hope you do too.