It is likely you own a Bible, but you do not read it as often as you would like. Eighty-eight percent of American households possess a Bible, even 68% of non-Christian homes, says 2015 research from American Bible Society. Still, only 14% of Americans read their Bible daily, while 52% read it at least three times a year. A high percentage (37%) of Millennials – a greater number than from any other generation – have never read the Bible.
So, there’s a high chance you are one of the 86% who do not read the Bible daily, and that you do not read the Bible as regularly as you would like. Why is that? It could have to do with one of three attitudes related to how you use the Bible.
Juggling everything but the Bible.
Short on time, short on understanding, short on discipline. People commonly fail to pick up their Bibles because of one or more of these issues. It happens easily with all the competing and important pressures of work, school, social engagements, and family. So what should you do if you are balancing everything in your schedule except reading the Bible?
Instead of chasing after the desire for more Bible reading, begin immediate application that demands reading the Bible. For example, attend a weekly small group Bible study or enter a mentoring relationship with another Christian. With this, time will be scheduled, accountability to others will nurture discipline, and thoughts and resources contributed by others will bring greater understanding.
It is a simple truth that the more you read the Bible, the more you will desire it. Reading the Bible will become a paramount priority – like drinking water - no circumstance will be permitted to push it aside.
Keeping the Bible on a high pedestal.
This may sound strange, even blasphemous, to suggest, but do you think too highly of the Bible? Perhaps it seems too weighty to approach, understand, and become familiar with. The fact is, as Christians, we have a God who has revealed Himself. We have the opportunity to know Him intimately and directly. So, neither the Bible nor the God of the Bible is remote or out of reach.
God is alive, active, and near to reveal Himself and His Word as you study it. Sure, some content in the Bible can be difficult to comprehend. But don’t just leave it for preachers to expound its meaning. Take it off the shelf and study it. Make note of questions that arise, and find answers. Above all, remember that the Holy Spirit delights in quickening your heart and mind by delivering understanding and conviction.
Burying the Bible at the back of the closet.
If the Bible isn’t on a pedestal at your house, and it’s still not in your hand, it may be buried at the back of a closet. If it’s a closet you haven’t cleaned since you were in middle school, it may be hard to find beneath sports paraphernalia, old schoolwork, clothes, photo albums, even childhood toys – everything that has taken up your time and interest since you last paid any serious attention to the Bible.
Millennials are more likely than any other generation to go to the Bible when they have a problem to solve or need direction. The Bible is relegated to a sort of self-help manual used whenever a useful maxim is needed for life. Certainly, the Bible has plenty of wisdom and guidance to offer for making good decisions. But guidance is not the greatest purpose of the Bible.
The purpose of the Bible is to reveal God, His plans, and His purposes for history, for our lives, and, far above all, for His own glory. See, the Bible is not really about us and it doesn’t exist just to answer questions about right and wrong behavior, what kind of person to marry, how to treat people, and how to live life. All of that is included, but only because it arises out of who God is. Read the Bible for what it is: His story. And, yeah, you may find you don’t want to put it down.