“Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” – John 6:68
On a shelf in my study is the maroon-coloured hard-bound Bible that my father John presented to me on the day I decided to follow Jesus. I was then 12 years old, and today I believe that the simple words of this “good news book” impacted me more than memory or imagination can tell.
Over the next decades I collected (by way of purchase or gift) another ten or so Bibles: translations such as the NIV, NLT, NASB, NKJV and the Message; with and without commentaries, even a manga comic version. My Bible reading habit varied over the years. Sometimes months went by when I hardly opened my Bible. In at least two seasons in my life (pre-internet), I carried my Bible everywhere I went. Once, I completed reading the entire Bible in a year with the help of a reading plan. On occasion I studied certain Bible books intensively, with a buddy or mentor, in small groups, at seminary class or at Bible Study Fellowship. To date I have attended classes facilitated by experts to study the Bible inductively, mind-map it, exegete it, feast on it, even preach it.
It was Biblical stories that first found their way deep into me, informing my views on human nature and why people do the things they do. Deeply flawed men and women in the Bible were my first character studies. When I got older, it was Jesus Christ who captured my attention. His words and deeds, his trials, temptations and miracles, his family and social circle, and the stories that he told, were recorded in great detail in the Bible. Reading my Bible helped me to know him better — and he stopped being merely a stereotype or important historical person, and became a life example, the companion of my soul, and my Saviour, Lord and Master.
Christ Himself said ‘‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God’’. Just as we need ourdaily food, we also need the promises and wisdom contained in Holy Scripture. It comforts, strengthens, delights and warns us. Along with salvation in Christ, God gave mankind His Word to guard, direct, nourish and renew us in the seasons of life and prepare us for eternity.
We should not be legalistic about the frequency and duration of our Bible reading, but a Christian would be most foolish to neglect Scripture as a treasure and resource. So would you ask God to help you meet Him regularly in personal reading of the Scriptures? This is one prayer that delights Him, and He will indeed answer.
By Aaron Lee, Elder (YCKC Bulletin 12&13 November 2016)