Our guest blogger today is Todd Brady, Vice President for University Ministries at Union University in Jackson, TN. He and his wife, Amy have five boys and are members of First Baptist Church.
This summer, I hit the half-way mark. Since January 1, 2018 I’ve checked box after box, marking my progress toward the goal of reading through the entire Bible again this year. I’ve journeyed with the children of Israel through the Pentateuch (trudging through Leviticus), witnessed the books of Kings, Chronicles, and Samuel, walked with Jesus through the Gospels, read much of Paul’s writings and have been inspired by the Psalms along the way.
As a list-maker and list-checker, I admit that it feels good to see that marked-up Bible reading plan tucked in my Bible. Yes, I get behind and sometimes have to read several days at once to catch up. I admit I might be satisfying compulsive tendencies by my daily box-checking, but I’ve come to realize that something significant is going on as I read: God is doing an unseen work of sanctification in me, conforming me into the image of Jesus (Rom. 8:29). I am being reminded that:
- Spiritual growth is not optional. Peter tells us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). Growth is not merely a suggestion; it’s a commandment. A non-growing Christian is an oxymoron. If we are not growing, we are sinning—and Bible reading helps us grow.
- Discipleship is for everybody. In the same way that evangelism and missions are not reserved for certain people with particular personalities or gifts or likings, neither is discipleship something that serious Christians engage in while nominal Christians do not. Bible reading is an imperative part of discipleship, and God uses it to make us more faithful disciples.
- Bible reading produces faith. Paul wrote, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). Faith is a miraculous gift, but it comes when something else happens: hearing the word of Christ. Therefore, if we want to experience God’s work of faith, we must put ourselves in places where the word of Christ is going into our heads.
- Bible reading simply matters. I agree with Don Whitney that, “No Spiritual Discipline is more important than the intake of God’s Word. Nothing can substitute for it. There simply is no healthy Christian life apart from a diet of the milk and meat of Scripture. . . . if we would know God and be godly, we must know the Word of God—intimately.”1
So, my checking Bible reading boxes every day is not legalistic. It’s not about the boxes, but they’re a daily reminder that God is working in my life.
I need those boxes. My soul depends on them.
1Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life with Bonus Content (Pilgrimage Growth Guide) (p. 28). Navpress. Kindle Edition.