by Dr. Foster H. Shannon
A major problem for many Christians is that they do not read the Bible often enough. We may be inclined to depend on the Sunday morning sermon or on the Sunday School Class. These are important, but they are not the end of the line. Again and again in the Bible we are urged to value, to read, to study, to meditate on the scriptures.
According to the Gallup Poll, more than half of Americans believe that the Bible is the word of God. Here are the Bible reading habits according to Gallup: 12% say they read the Bible monthly; 21% say they read the Bible weekly; 16% say they read the Bible every day. 41% say that they rarely or never read the Bible.
“This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you shall make your way prosperous and then you shall have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)
“You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;” (I Peter 1:23)
I have been teaching a Sunday School course on “Ten Outstanding Christians” at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, Redondo Beach. Right now I am finishing up the last five, week by week: George Whitefield, Hannah More, William Wilberforce, Shaftesbury, and William Ewart Gladstone. Hannah More and four men (of course, there were many others) nonetheless, were the leaders in a movement, with strong Christian foundations that transformed England for one hundred and fifty years. They varied in their backgrounds and their talents, but this they had in common: they were devoted students of the Bible—and on its teachings, they built their lives.
The Christian is to grow in the grace of our Lord from the time of new birth until he/she enters Heaven.
Thus, I Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation…”
In your reading of the Bible, it is important to set aside a time every day for study and prayer.
“O Lord, in the morning you do hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you, and watch.” ~Ps.5:3
The Bible must be read and studied one book at a time. There are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament. In my opinion, it is better to spend at least one-half of your reading time in the New Testament. It is good in your study of the Bible to have a notebook at hand, and to write some notes and to outline (not too complex) the book you are reading. If you are fairly new in Bible reading, here in my recommendation for a starter: Matthew, John, Acts, Romans, Genesis, Ephesians.
“Blessed is the person who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”