It’s alarming to read statistics on Bible study.
I have become convinced that knowledge of the Bible is rare among professing Christians. Surveys show that if you’re reading the Bible, it’s probably a King James (good thing), female and African American, as they are the single largest group of regular bible readers.
I’m glad someone is. But when we’re talking about 39% of professing Christian males reading their Bibles, that’s shocking.
how do you maker decisions based upon the word of God, if you aren’t reading it? How do you look at the times of this world and not be thinking to yourself, “Wow, everything’s moving so quickly! The Lord’s return has to be close!”
I’ve noticed that one of the blogs that is in my WordPress newsfeed has taken to giving Bible exposition now, which is good. People are more likely to read books about the Bible than read the Bible.
Statistics also show that enough people in the US own Bibles for every house in the US to have three of them.
If you own one, you are commanded to be diligent in study of it.
Now, I recognize that a person in ministry is under different requirements to read and study the Bible. I have begun noticing things in the Bible since I started this blog that never really connected before, which means I must be getting deeper in study of it.
Read your Bible.
Everyone knows the statistic, I’m sure, that reading four chapters a day will get you through the Bible in a year! That’s… 20 minutes a day. Really.
Some reading plans make sense. Some to me makes no sense. John Macarthur pushes a Bible reading plan of reading a chapter a week, but you’re reading it OVER and OVER and OVER again. I tried that, and found I was getting nothing at all from it. So I went back to daily devotional reading. But of course, I’d just started Seminary, so I was required to do a lot of reading, plus hours of studying a day. No kidding, studying for tests required at least 2 hours a day of study and review of my notes, which in hindsight wasn’t enough. But anyway.
There’s really no excuse for not being able to find 20 minutes a day to read your Bible. I’m talking bare minimum standards, here. Really, if people read and studied their Bibles, then I wouldn’t have anything to write about! I wouldn’t have to warn people about Mormons, JW’s, Messianic Jews, Christadelphians, etc.
Here’s some other pointers.
Get some highlighters, those Bible marking pens so you can highlight in color. I usually use my Wordsearch program, which allows me to highlight the verses in several different colors.
If you read your Bible with the expectancy of finding verses important enough to highlight, you will. That search will be rewarded.
Add the date of when you studied a passage. That way you can monitor your progress. It will show you when you’ve been slacking, also.
Make sure you’re trying to understand, “What is the author talking about?” Verses in the Bible aren’t chinese fortune cookies – they are a series of logically constructed thoughts ABOUT something. Okay, so 2 Kings is recounting history. Ask yourself why the deeds of Ahaz and Ahab and King David and Jobab and ishbebeknob and all the rest are being recounted? What is there for you to learn from it? Just because they did a lot doesn’t mean God decided, “well, Ahab did a lot of stuff, I’ll put it in the Bible…” trust me, Ahaz was bad, and did a lot of bad things, but historically besides Solomon and David, the king who did the most in the Mideast was Omri – and the Bible doesn’t have a lot to say about him, besides being evil. Ask yourself why? Because the lessons for you to learn is perhaps better taught by Ahab? I’m not going to give you the answers. Go look.
It’s also helpful to begin writing notes in the margin. Trust me, I’ve contacted Wordsearch with a long list of suggestions, and they’ve promised to incorporate many of them. So, now you can write multiple notes on verses. Take the time to put together a brief biographical sketch of major Bible characters. You’re going to get a lot from that.
It’s helpful to find Bible timelines also. When you see what is going on in the world at the time, it helps. But be aware that historians are not at all consistent on whom they accept histories from as legitimate. You can read a dozen books and find that all twelve authors disagree with each other.
Read your Bible, at the very least. Study it would be far better. That way, as the churches fall into apostasy, chasing it faster and faster, you’ll know at the very least when to withdraw from your church and find a Bible believing one.