In a local realtor trade magazine I received for many years, they would have a profile of the month featuring a specific agent. They asked various questions like their favorite movie, food, vacation spot, etc. One of the other questions was favorite book. Not being an avid reader, I often wasn't familiar with some of the book titles mentioned. However, a few times, people said the bible. I always found that odd, not being a bible reader. I mean, once you've read it, you've read it, right? How could that be someone's favorite book? I never thought of it as "a book", I thought of it as 'the bible".
Move forward a few years later. I still am not an avid book reader, though I do read occasionally; however, I am a news nut. I watch it whenever I work out in the morning and I can't get enough of it. I especially love all the news feeds on Twitter. Anyway, getting back to my thought. After friends like Jim Celedonia and Richard Brunton opened up my heart and soul to "THE BOOK", I can honestly say that I love it and can now see why people answered that their favorite book was the bible. So the answer to the title of this post is a resounding NO!!!!! Once isn't even close to enough.
Let's travel back a few years. How many Seinfeld or Friends junkies are out there? You've watched those episodes so many times, you have lines memorized. How about movie junkies? Admit it, if Shawshank Redemption comes on, you'll stop what you're doing and at least "see what part it is at" and an hour later you're still watching. And guys, if the first Rocky is on, you're stopping to watch. What about even farther back, Andy Griffith, Gilligan's Island, Gomer Pyle, USMC, you name the show. You still watch them when they're on, I know you do. So do I! And how about current TV fanatics. How many movies, shows, or series, have you watched on Netflix more than once? Now, why is it we can watch the same shows, or the same movies over and over again? It's because they make us feel good, they make us laugh and often cry. We like the familiarity and comfort of an old favorite and we usually like how they make us feel. And often, we see or hear something we missed before.
That's how I see the bible now. I am not even close to knowing much of it, even though I have read the New Testament many, many times. OK, I've only read Revelations completely through one time. I'm still working on that book (HELP). And the Old Testament continues to grow on me, though I still struggle with many books. But the books I've read more often, the ones I've truly come to know better and to understand and have read again and again, they're like an old favorite movie or TV show. And just like when you go back and watch an old movie or show and hear or see something you didn't before, that is exactly how the bible can be!! I can't tell you how many times that has happened to me over the years and continues to happen. It's one of the most exciting things about reading the bible over and over. There is so much in it, it is absolutely impossible to get all, or even most of it, after one complete read through. Which by the way takes awhile. In fact, I would venture to say that as long as we live, the bible will continue to give us more each time we read it. It's likes a never ending data base.
So if you're in a good place with your scripture reading, great, keep it going. If you aren't, that's OK. Just try to find some time to get back. Early mornings work best for me, when the phone isn't ringing (or texts aren't coming through), the TV isn't on and everyone's usually asleep. If you've read it multiple times, don't be afraid to go back. I guarantee you that you'll see something you never saw before, or interpret something differently. It's one of the best things about scripture. One passage can have multiple lessons and often, you don't see them all the first, or even second or third time through. And finally, if you've never read it, like I hadn't for most of my life, there's no time like the present to start. And if you don't know where to start, talk to someone you know that does read the bible, or your minister. Some people even like bible reading plans, which I know have worked very well for many individuals. Just Google bible reading plans. There are a gazillion. Just start. It truly will change your life. And I should know, because it happened to me. And if you think you're too old, you're not. I was nearly 50 when I started!
Join the conversation live @ 9:30 am on Sundays as Dave begins a new group, or @ 11 am at Asbury class as Chris begins a new study on Making Sense of the Bible.