Practice of Bible Reading
Noted Bible teacher E. Schuyler English told of Michael Billester, a Bible distributor who visited a small hamlet in Poland shortly before World War II. Billester gave a Bible to a villager, who was converted by reading it. The new believer then passed the Book on to others. The cycle of conversions and sharing continued until 200 people had become believers through that one Bible. When Billeser returned in 1940, this group of Christians met together for a worship service in which he was to preach the Word. He normally asked for testimonies, but this time he suggested that several in the audience recite verses of Scripture. One man stood and said, "Perhaps we have misunderstood. Did you mean verses or chapters?" These villagers had not memorized a few select verses of the Bible but whole chapters and books. Thirteen people knew Matthew, Luke, and half of Genesis. Another person had committed to memory the Psalms. That single copy of the Bible given by Billester had done its work. Transformed lives bore witness to the power of the Word.
E. Schuyler English.
While studying in the Holy Lands, a seminary professor of mine met a man who claimed to have memorized the Old Testament--in Hebrew! Needless to say, the astonished professor asked for a demonstration. A few days late they sat together in the man's home. "Where shall we begin?" asked the man. "Psalm 1," replied my professor, who was an avid student of the psalms. Beginning with Psalm 1:1, the man began to recite from memory, while my professor followed along in his Hebrew Bible. For two hours the man continued word for word without a mistake as the professor sat in stunned silence. When the demonstration was over, my professor discovered something even more astonishing about the man--he was an atheist! Here was someone who knew the Scriptures better than most Christians ever will, and yet he didn't even believe in God.
Jack Kuhatschek, Taking The Guesswork Out of Applying The Bible, IVP, 1991, p. 16.
That book, sir, is the rock on which our republic rests.
The N.T. is the very best book that was or ever will be known in the world.
It is impossible to righteously govern the world without God and the Bible.
Within the covers of one single book, the Bible, are all the answers to all the problems that face us today--if only we would read and believe.
Never let good books take the place of the Bible. Drink from the Well, not from the streams that flow from the Well.
God is everywhere. However, He does not want you to reach out for Him everywhere but only in the Word. Reach out for it and you will grasp Him aright. Otherwise you are tempting God and setting up idolatry. That is why He has established a certain method for us. This teaches us how and where we are to look for Him and find Him, namely, in the Word.
When their son left for his freshman year at Duke University, his parents gave him a Bible, assuring him it would be a great help. Later, as he began sending them letters asking for money, they would write back telling him to read his Bible, citing chapter and verse. He would reply that he was reading the Bible--but he still needed money. When he came home for a semester break, his parents told him they knew he had not been reading his Bible. How? They had tucked $10 and $20 bills by the verses they had cited in their letters.
John T. Spach, in Reader's Digest.
"DAILY BIBLE READING - Part One"
Why We Need To Make It A Habit
1. John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of our country, once
"So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my
children begin to read it the more confident will be my hope that
they will prove useful citizens of their country and respectable
members of society. I have for many years made it a practice to
read through the Bible once every year."
2. George Muller, who established many orphanages throughout
"I believe that the one chief reason that I have been kept in happy
useful service is that I have been a lover of Holy Scripture. It
has been my habit to read the Bible through four times a year; in a
prayerful spirit, to apply it to my heart, and practice what I find
there. I have been for sixty-nine years a happy man; happy, happy,
3. Both of these men spoke of the habit of Bible reading...
a. This is a habit which many great people in the past engaged in
b. Many people still do so today
c. But I fear that if the truth were known, fewer and fewer people
have developed the habit of daily reading the Bible
1) Many have probably never read the New Testament from beginning
2) Even fewer have never read the entire Old Testament
4. And yet, I agree with:
a. Patrick Henry, who said: "The Bible is worth more than all other
books which have ever been printed."
b. Charles Dickens, who wrote: "The New Testament is the very best
book that ever was or will be known in the world."
5. For this reason, I have one objective in this lesson and the one to
follow: TO ENCOURAGE EVERY PERSON TO DEVELOP THE HABIT OF DAILY
[To help motivate us all in this regard, I wish to point out WHY it is
so important to develop the habit of daily Bible reading...]
I.BECAUSE OF THE POWER OF GOD'S WORD TO SAVE - Ja 1:21
A. GOD'S WORD SAVES US BY PRODUCING FAITH - Ro 10:17
1. Without faith it is impossible to please God - He 11:6
2. Without faith in Jesus we cannot be saved - Jn 8:24
3. The Word Of God was written to produce such saving faith - Jn
B. GOD'S WORD SAVES US BY CAUSING US TO BE "BORN AGAIN" - 1 Pe 1:
1. Jesus stressed the necessity of being born again - Jn 3:3-5
2. The rebirth involving water and Spirit comes when one has
received the "incorruptible seed" of God's Word; in
particular, the gospel - 1 Pe 1: 23-25; Ja 1:18
C. GOD'S WORD SAVES US BY KEEPING US SAVED - Ac 20:29-32
1. Paul frequently spoke of this value of God's Word (especially
of the Old Testament)
a. To the Corinthians - 1 Co 10:11-12
b. To Timothy - 2 Ti 3:14-17
2. It is the lack of God's Word which has always destroyed the
people of God - Hos 4:6
II. BECAUSE OF THE POWER OF GOD'S WORD TO COMFORT - Ro 15:4
A. GOD'S WORD COMFORTS
THROUGH THE "HOPE" IT GIVES - Ro 15:4 US
1. Paul speaks in this context of the Old Testament
2. Even it provides assurance of our hope because it tells how
God always keeps His promises
B. GOD'S WORD COMFORTS US THROUGH THE "HAPPINESS" IT GIVES - Ps 1:
1. Happiness through the stability and nourishment it provides
2. Note that this happiness comes to the one engaged in daily
Bible reading! ("day and night")
C. GOD'S WORD COMFORTS US THROUGH THE "PEACE" IT GIVES - Ps 119:165
1. With such inner peace, nothing causes them to stumble - Ps
2. As Robert E. Lee has said: "In all my perplexities and
distresses, the Bible has never failed to give me light and
[Much more could be said about the value of God's Word, but I want to
stress another reason why everyone should develop the habit of daily
III. BECAUSE WE ARE CREATURES OF HABIT AND TIME
A. AS CREATURES OF HABIT...
1. We either have good habits or bad habits
2. If we have not developed the GOOD habit of daily Bible
3. Then we have developed the BAD habit of NOT reading the Bible
B. AS CREATURES OF TIME...
1. We are subject to the limitations time places on us
2. As illustrated by James, our time on earth is brief - Ja 4:14
C. AS CREATURES OF BOTH...
1. If we have not developed the GOOD habit of daily Bible
2. Our time on this earth will one day catch up with us
a. We will have spent our lives on this earth without
utilizing the benefits provided by daily reading of God's
b. Many will have to face God having never read through His
1. This lesson is being presented to you at the end of another year...
a. Did you develop the habit this year?
b. If not, see how time has once again passed you by, and you have
yet to read the Word of God upon which your soul's salvation
2. As another year is about to begin, and many resolutions are being
made, I want to encourage you to make DAILY BIBLE READING one of the
top resolutions on your list, so at the end of the next year things
will be different
In the next lesson, I will offer suggestions as to HOW to make DAILY
BIBLE READING a habit...
"DAILY BIBLE READING - Part Two"
How To Make It A Habit
1. In the previous lesson, I sought to encourage everyone to make daily
Bible reading a habit...
a. By emphasizing the value of the Word of God to:
1) Save Us
2) Comfort Us
b. By stressing we are creatures of habit and time
1) We either have a habit of reading or not reading
2) If we have gotten in the habit of not reading, our time on
earth will end without our ever having read God's Word
2. In this lesson, I want to offer suggestions for making daily Bible
reading a habit in our lives
[To be successful in forming any good habit...]
I. WE NEED TO CREATE A "POSITIVE ADDICTION" TO DAILY BIBLE
A. WHAT IS A "POSITIVE ADDICTION"?
1. Usually when we hear the word ADDICTION, we think of NEGATIVE
a. Which is simply another word for BAD HABITS
b. Such as smoking, swearing, drinking, gambling
c. When something bad for us:
1) Becomes "second nature"
2) We do it without much effort or thought
d. We become dependent on it, either emotionally or physically
e. When we try to do without it, we experience various degrees
2. POSITIVE ADDICTION is when you become dependent upon a good
a. For example, exercise can become a positive addiction
1) Those who have made exercise a pleasurable and frequent
experience soon become "addicted" to it
2) So that if they go a few days without exercise, they
feel uneasy, depressed, irritable
3) Of course, if they go without exercise long enough, the
discomfort will eventually pass
b. So a positive addiction is a habit which is:
1) Good for you, either physically, mentally, or
2) A source of pleasure and satisfaction
3) One that should you neglect it, begins to give you
B. WHY IS A "POSITIVE ADDICTION" TO DAILY BIBLE READING NECESSARY?
1. It will help you maintain the practice of reading the Bible
2. Should a few days go by without reading the Bible, the
"discomfort" experienced will help motivate you to get "back
3. Most people who have tried to read the Bible daily and did not
keep it up...
a. Are people who have never experienced a positive addiction
to reading God's Word
b. Rather than a pleasurable experience, it was a chore
c. So when they fell behind in their goals, there was little
motivation to catch up
[Having explained what I mean by "positive addiction", here are some
II. HOW TO CREATE A "POSITIVE ADDICTION" FOR DAILY BIBLE
A. THE PRINCIPLES ARE THE SAME FOR CREATING ANY POSITIVE
1. You must make the experience a pleasurable one
a. This is where many people fail when it comes to "exercise"
b. Going about it the wrong way, the daily workouts are
painful and miserable
c. Therefore any excuse not to exercise prevents them from
keeping it up
2. The same applies to reading the Bible
a. To many, they try to do too much too soon
b. The experience soon becomes little more than "marking a
B. SOME SUGGESTIONS...
1. START SLOW, WITH SMALL GOALS
a. Many try to start by reading through the Bible in one year
1) An admirable goal, but most never make it past Exodus or
2) Before Bible reading has become a positive addiction,
they run into difficult passages of Scripture
3) They are like beginning joggers who try to run a mile
the first time out
b. I would recommend starting with making the New Testament a
1) This requires no more than a chapter a day
2) The material is easier, more edifying at the outset
c. Once you have read the New Testament in a year a couple of
1) You might read through the Old Testament one year
2) Then begin reading through the entire Bible each year
2. BEGIN EACH SESSION WITH PRAYER
a. Like that found in Ps 119:18: "Open my eyes, that I may
see wondrous things from Your Law."
b. This puts us in the most receptive frame of mind - cf. Ja
3. READ SLOWLY, CAREFULLY
a. This helps to prevent reading without comprehending what
you read - cf. Ps 1:1-2; 119:15-16
b. Reading out loud at times, as though you were reading to
someone else, can help to read this way
4. MAKE USE OF BIBLE STUDY AIDS
a. Especially a Bible dictionary, and Bible maps
b. Don't observe the "pass over", passing over...
1) Words you don't understand
2) Names you don't know
3) Places unfamiliar to you
c. Every time you do, there is that much more of the Bible you
don't understand, don't get anything out of it
d. Take a moment to look them up in the references
5. DISCUSS WHAT YOU READ WITH OTHERS
a. Encourage others to follow the same program of reading
b. Share your discoveries, the passages that encourage you
6. READ WITH THE INTENTION TO DO WHAT IT SAYS
a. Otherwise, you are wasting your time! - Ja 1:22-24
b. The true joy comes in the application of God's Word
(another "positive addiction" to develop) - Ja 1:25
7. END EACH SESSION WITH PRAYER
a. Like that expressed in Ps 119:5-6
b. Or the one found in Ps 119:10-11
1. I have found that following these suggestions the practice of
reading the Bible becomes one of great joy - Ps 119:162
2. Done on a regular basis, a "positive addiction" for daily Bible
reading quickly develops which helps one to keep up this wonderful
3. I hope that in some way I have encouraged everyone...
a. To begin if they have never done so
b. To continue if they are doing so
c. To try again if they tried in the past and failed
For there is so much to gain, and there is so much to lose!