Here are seven reasons I came up with for not reading the bible.
The Short Version. I have to backtrack and give you the shortened Christian time table of my life. I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic schools for 12 years and for the most part, hardly ever missed church. Before I say anything else, I want to make it clear that I am in no way bashing the Catholic church. In fact, being raised Catholic was what kept me out of trouble, for the most part, into my early 20's, not to mention an amazing Mother and four loving sisters. My early church upbringing and my family taught me right from wrong in the most basic and important of ways, as well as things like compassion, humility and loving others. They were also my moral compass.
Any way, looking back now some 25 plus years later, I realized that the bible was never a focal part of any portion of my life. Whether that was in church, in my schooling, or at home. I fault nobody for that, I think that's just the way it was and it really wasn't a big deal to me. Then Wendy brought me to our church in 1986. And though I attended adult Sunday School, taught 4th and 5th grade Sunday School with Wendy for years and even adult classes on and off, I was still a non-bible reader. I really only read the bible when I needed to lead a lesson, but otherwise, I just didn't read it. That's sort of embarrassing to say, but I want you to know exactly where I was in my life at that time and let you know that if any of you are in a similar place, it's possible to change your situation. That is, if you desire to make that change.
How did I become a bible reader? How do I now write about something I never wanted to read? Well, I'm going to try to tell you my story in an extremely condensed version.
I will be 52 in July and up until I was nearly 48, I was still standing pat with my I don't read the bible attitude. Then one day I was in the church office and saw some Upper Room devotional booklets. I don't know why I grabbed one, but I did. When I got home, I found a bible with about six inches of dust on it (just joking) and placed it on the nightstand next to my bed with the Upper Room booklet. That night I read the devotional and the bible passage that went with it and I don't remember it doing anything for me, but since it only took a few minutes, I did it the next night and continued to stay with it.
Then a few weeks later, the devotional passage for that day was from the 4th chapter of Philippians. After I read it, I just felt different inside. It's hard to explain, but it made me want more. I went back and read the entire book of Philippians, which is by no means an amazing task, due to it being only four chapters, but for me it was a huge step, as I actually read my first book EVER in the bible in one sitting, from start to finish.
From then on, I was hooked. I actually was reading two different devotionals a night and eventually read other short books of the bible as well. Then I realized that almost everything I was reading was a letter from Paul. His words were the words that finally reached out and touched me. I could understand the bible for the first time. Granted, not all of it. Not nearly all of it, but some of it. It was an extremely liberating feeling and one that truly lit a fire inside me.
I have never looked back since. I still have difficulty with the OT, but instead of using that as an excuse to not read the bible, I stayed with things that related more to me and it worked. There's a lot more to the story, including bible study group and lengthy bible conversations with some friends, but that's for another day.
So now what? Do I go into a long dissertation about reading the bible? Do I tell you how wrong I was and how wrong you are if you don't start reading? Do I come off sounding holier than thou? No way!!!! I want you to come to The Book, not make you run away from it, therefore, I am going to lay something out that worked for me and ask that you give it a whirl. If it doesn't work, that's OK, it won't require much time or effort and in the meantime, reading a few bible passages can't hurt, right? That's all for now. I'll be posting my follow up soon titled, "I Can Read the Bible".
Dave is the Discipleship Czar at Girard 1st. His unofficial title was given because of his love for Christ, and his consistent encouragement for people in their spiritual walk.