How much Bible do you need?
Part of centering your life in the Gospel is realizing that our hearts and minds need to be growing and changing. When someone comes to Christ, there is a radical change—but that does not mean that change is over. 2 Peter 3:18, Romans 12:1-2.
So how do we keep changing? One aspect of Christian growth must be rooted in the Bible. We have God’s word delivered to us so we have the access we need. I asked a question in the previous post about how much Bible intake do we need. Considering this is like asking how much nutrients our bodies need. Can they survive on a little as possible? Yes, but would that be healthy? No. When asking this question, we need to have a realistic perspective but also one that really desires to have as much Bible as we can. In Acts 17:11, we see that the believers were eager to know the word and examined it to learn more.
The folks I surveyed had one important thing in common: they have regular Bible intake and true dependence on their understanding of the Bible. This looks different in each of their lives. Some have a regular, early morning reading time; others spread their time in the Word throughout the day. Some listen to sermons on their way to and from work. Others focus on Scripture memory. A few were in an intense season of study, while others are meditating on specific truths each day that apply to a circumstance they are facing.
Maybe the most important aspect of Bible intake is its usefulness for our day-to-day lives. Many people struggle to find time to read or to know the Scriptures. Many also find that coping with life circumstances is at times too much to bear. Here is where the rubber meets the road. The Bible is more than a bunch of rules of life. It is an unlimited life-giving resource. For many of us though, we face our life circumstances without it.
A mom of six expressed her daily walk as “a lot of valley-walking lately.” She continued, “My Bible reading during this time is just that. Reading. I’m not studying, just spending a few minutes calmly reading for the Lord to encourage my weary soul.” In addition to her reading, she meditates on truths she learned “from mountaintop times.” She even asks herself questions and answers herself with truth: “like ‘Do you really believe God’s word is true?’ Then you can rest in it. Do you believe that God loves you, created you, equipped you, and is greater than you, and Satan?’ Then rest, wait, and watch.”
Another saint expressed their desire to have the Bible “inform every aspect of their life.” They said, “I have to choose, with the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, to believe His word and His character over my daily circumstances. It is a battle.” Some folks are struggling: walking through life without truth, wanting more, perhaps feeling bitter because they don’t see God at work. This respondent is struggling, and winning, the battle because of the Word in her daily life. The word makes the difference because she is actually striving to win this battle with truth on her side.
Eager to Examine the Word
Contrary to popular practice, the Bible doesn’t insist that we read it cover to cover every year. This isn’t a bad practice, but it’s not the real need for most people. We need a steady diet of bite size meals. describes the wise man as the one who mediates on the Scriptures “day and night.” Meditation is mulling over the truth. Asking the Lord for clarity. Re-reading throughout the day and pondering its meaning.
May our hearts in knowing the Scriptures be like the Berean’s, who were eager and examined the Scriptures.
Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” (ESV)
Tips for discipling someone to have consistent Bible intake.
1. At first do it with them and show them what it can look like. But remember that many people are not avid readers. This can be very overwhelming for a lot of people. Don’t judge them for this, but accommodate where they are and what their next best step is.
2. It helps to send regular encouragement about what you are reading. Texting can be such a simple tool to make this happen. You will find that a quick text about a meaningful verse can go a long way. And compared to texting to keep them accountable to their reading, you are showing them how you find a verse meaningful and how it could be meaningful for them as well.
3. Give them a simple plan to start out with. Small wins will reap larger gains later, but setting them up to have too big of a goal could lead to discouragement. Here is a simple resource to spend 30 days in the word if you think they are ready for it.
4. Help them not just be hearers of the word, but doers as well. . This is of course to encourage application of the text, but in life this is also essential to learning. If all we ever do is take in data without practice, we will essentially create little pharisees and not followers of Christ. Here is a simple tool to help them learn to apply the Bible to their life.
5. When someone you are leading is asking questions, don’t simply answer the question for them. Take them to the Scriptures. Maybe even if you know the biblical answer create a way for them to look it up and find it for themselves. This will result in a much more robust understanding and they won’t depend upon you to help in every question they have, but will learn to depend upon the Lord and His word.
How have you experienced growth through regular Bible intake?
Has your time in the Word varied through seasons of your life?
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