What would happen in our churches and Sunday Schools if our members read the Bible daily? What if they read it to listen to God? What if they were seeking His leadership and help? What if they sought his guidance and power? How would Christians be different? How would our Sunday Schools be different? How would our churches be different? How would our world be different?
How could you encourage daily Bible reading through your class? What accountability process could you put into place that would reinforce these efforts? Would accountability partners help? Could care group leaders challenge group members each week? Could asking attenders to complete a journal from which to share on Sunday help?
How could you as teacher help members confront and deal with their excuses for not reading the Bible? In an article entitled, Back to the Book: Seven Ways to Ignite Passion for Reading the Bible, Kathy Widenhouse confronts seven excuses:
- TIME. “I don’t have time to read.” We all have time for what we consider important. The truth is that Bible reading does not have to take hours each day. Many books can be read in 20 minutes or less. A little time invested each day can be life-changing. Read 3 chapters per day and you will have read most of the Bible in a year. But divide the time you have into 2 parts: reading and listening to God.
- STARTING POINT. “I don’t know where to begin.” There are lots of plans. There are Bibles which are set up into daily plans. There are plans online. But sometimes the place to begin is with a book or type of literature that you enjoy. You might start small and then read more each month. How about James–it is only 5 chapters? How about Matthew–it can be read in less than a month by reading one chapter each day?
- UNDERSTANDING. “I just don’t get it.” Find a Bible translation that helps you understand what you read. If you have difficulty understanding your preferred translation, get some Bible helps, such as a Bible dictionary, atlas, commentaries, concordance, etc. Pray. Read. Ask a friend for help.
- BORING. “The Bible is so dull.” What if you believed it was written to you (it is!)? Make it personal. If you think it is dull, then you may not have read much of it. The Bible is full of surprise, poetry, history, love stories, intrigue, prophecy, war, and more. You can find a type of literature you like. Challenge a friend to read and discuss sections, and watch His Word become alive.
- APPLICATION. “I don’t see how the Bible applies to my life.” God’s Word is full of answers to life’s questions and problems, then and now. When you open God’s Word, He has something to say to you. Are you listening to Him? What was His message to the original hearers? How does that apply to you today?
- PERSONAL USAGE. “I hear Bible readings in church every Sunday. Isn’t that enough?” Is one meal per week enough? Can others eat for you? Is it better to be fed by others or to feed yourself? That is the way it is with God’s Word. It is better to eat regularly, and to be able to feed yourself. No one can do it for you. In order for a relationship with your spouse to grow, it takes regular conversation. Bible reading is a significant part of conversation with God that is needed daily.
- CONVICTION. “The Bible makes me feel uncomfortable.” The Bible and the Holy Spirit point out sin in our lives. While we may not like guilt and may not appreciate conviction, these uncomfortable feelings help to steer us toward obedience. They remind us of what Jesus did for us on the cross. They help us learn from our mistakes. Conviction helps us agree with God about what we have done. The more we read the Bible, the more able we are to avoid sin and to deal with sin when it occurs.
Bible reading is vital to growth as a follower of Jesus. Sunday School is a great place to reinforce this spiritual discipline. Lead your class to set a growth goal about Bible reading this year. Pray. Listen to God in His Word. Be revolutionary!
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