I recently asked a group of ladies from my church to print out a list of the books of the Bible and rate each one 1-5. One, “I’ve never read it or if I have I can’t tell you anything about it.” Five, “I know most or all of the major characters and themes of the book and I could give you a general outline.”
The point of the exercise was for us to discuss how well (or not well) we knew the Bible. Not in an effort bring about discouragement, but rather to accurately assess our current Bible literacy situation so that we could move forward accordingly.
I loved something I heard Kay Arthur say in an interview on Revive Our Hearts: “If He gave us sixty-six books, Precious One, how many do you think He wants us to know?” God did not give us His Word as something we can read from a la carte. He intends for us to know it in full.
We ought to be continually growing in our knowledge of the Word of God, because it is through knowing the Word that we learn who our God is and how to interact with Him.
The amount of information available to us each day is overwhelming. While often helpful, the sheer amount of books, blogs, articles, and Pinterest ideas often clutter the only information that is truly life-giving: God’s Word. It’s a hard choice, to pick up your Bible, old and unchanging as it is, when a world of new and fresh info is being put out as fast as you can hit refresh. The continual presentation of new articles and information (just one click away) can suck you in for hours before you know what hit you.
Now I’m not against other information. Quite the contrary, I love reading. I’ve got a whole page on this blog devoted to sharing my favorite books. The issue is what takes precedence in our acquisition of information.
Think of your favorite books, Christian or otherwise. How many can you name and give a general outline for? If you know more of those than you do book of the Bible, may I suggest something needs to change. We have the capacity to know the Word of God, it is not that it is too much for us. It is that we choose not to know it because other things seem more appealing.
If you’re reading this and feeling motivated to bring about some change in your Bible literacy, that’s great! There are myriads of Bible reading methods, suggestions, plans, and ideas out there. But if you’re like me, you might spend 2 hours searching for the perfect plan without ever setting eye on God’s Word.
Plans, methods and suggestions are important and good (in fact I did a whole series on that myself!), but at the end of the day, you just have to sit down and read it. It’s not super spiritual, it’s simple. Read it.
Read it like the book that it is. You wouldn’t pick up a novel from Barnes and Noble and start in the middle, flipping around for the sentences that seemed the most interesting. You would start at the beginning and read cover to cover. While the Bible doesn’t necessarily have to be read Genesis through Revelation (though I think doing so has incredible value), at the very least treat each book within the Bible that way. Read books of the Bible, not verses.
Reading the Bible changes you. It is not a one time read, but a life-long journey of knowing God through who He has revealed Himself to be through His Word. No greater goal could be pursued than this: to know God and make Him known. Knowing the Bible is not the end goal, but rather the tracks on which the train must travel to reach the destination of knowing God.
Why not print out a list of the books of the Bible and see where your Bible literacy is? Like getting a physical assessment before starting your exercise regimen, assess your current knowledge of the Word with a view to see that improve year after year after year.
Now get off the internet and dig in! 😉