03 January 2014

Do You Read the Bible Entirely? Challenging All Christians!

Christians stand on the Word of God - or at least they should if they don't. They live based on the teaching found within the 66 books of the Scriptures, and base much of their belief of Christianity on that book. So, the question of the day, do Christians consistently read their Bibles since it is so important to the lifeblood of their belief and practices?

Unfortunately, Christians can be quick to argue over understandings of the Scripture. A good question to ask when this happens is, "Have you read the Bible through in it's entirety?" Sadly most have not, and so it seems baffling as to how they can argue over parts of it, if it is possible that the answer to the argument is contained in that portion of Scripture that they have not ever read - yet it happens.

For those Christians who do read, it is sadly the case that many of them have an odd hermeneutic when it comes to their approach of the Bible. Hermeneutic means the science of interpretation, and there are right ways and wrong ways to approach reading Scripture. For instance, the Bible is not a book of quaint sayings and moral stories that we can just pick and use pieces here and there to make a point. The Scripture is one long story contained in multiple books, all having a central theme, and when kept in their context in that story, do state certain things that pertain to the story specifically, though we can glean from them.

To understand that story more properly, you must be willing to do more than just read pieces and apply them as desired. You must read the entire story - often - to get a good feel of how things fit in across the theme. You must understand that these Scriptures were written to real people back in the day. Therefore, you must seek to understand what those people would have understood them to mean in their time and culture. They may be of application to us, but only if we properly understand what they originally meant to the receiving audience. So audience relevance is a key point that most Christians miss when reading - and they wrongly apply many things to themselves that were not meant that way.

When you understand the entirety of Scripture to be a story with a main theme throughout, then it becomes important to read it as such, apply it as such, and fully understand it as such. Doing so means you cannot strip out desired portions to use willy-nilly as desired - it means reading the whole story to keep the context. In the past I have covered just a few verses that are often used out of context to say things that they were never intended to mean. Verses like God's word not returning void, or Matthew 18's statement of two or more being gathered together, or Paul stating he became all things to all people. Using verses out of their originally intended context oftentimes completely changes the meaning of them as they were intended, and hopefully no Christian desires that outcome. 

The point is, that unless all Christians read their Bible, all the way through, multiple times, as often as possible, then it is impossible for them to properly understand or use them in a proper manner, which will, has, and still does cause much confusion and disunity in the Christian faith. If the Bible is important to you as a Christian, then what excuse do you have for not loving to read it entirely and often?

Pastor David Curtis of Berean Bible Church challenges his congregation - EVERY YEAR - to start a Bible reading program and stick to it in an effort to read through the Bible entirely in a year. The more time spent in the Word, the better understanding one will get. The better the understanding, the more applicable it becomes to living life. Here is the sermon from this year's challenge. I hope all Christians will give an ear and hear what he has to say on this topic. Reading the Bible is life-changing, and hearing this sermon could be what you need in order to begin that change.