"I Wish God Would Just Speak to Me!"
"A survey from 2021 found that 11 percent of Americans read the Bible daily. Trends in reading habits over four years showed that the majority of Americans never read the Bible; however, in 2021, this number dropped to 29 percent of respondents...
Why are fewer people reading the Bible?
Indeed, it is no small undertaking, as with approximately 1,200 pages, the Bible is of comparable length to the popular epic "Lord of the Rings" series by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Other possible frustrations with the Bible and reasons for disengagement could come from complexities in language or simply not knowing when to use it. However, despite these challenges in reading the text, a significant proportion of the U.S. population considers their belief in God to be compatible with the representation in the Bible."
Read that again... "A significant proportion of the U.S. population considers their belief in God to be compatible with the representation in the Bible." However, they do not read the Bible and if you ask me that the biggest challenge of the church... that is our dilemma.
I am saying this to make you feel guilty or ashamed but rather to encourage you to begin. We have faith in that by Grace we are Saved, which is lovely, but it is time for the Church to Read the "Love Letter" available to us.
Ok, But Where Do I Begin?
Well, with the Gospel, you begin with the 'Good News' of Jesus Christ. I recommend that you start with the Gospel According to Mark. The sixteen-chapter Gospel is fact-based and moves quickly through the most critical moments in Jesus' life. Mark will provide a summary of Jesus' life and ministry.
Now, if you have read the Bible before but haven't done it in a while or are looking to go back to it, I suggest you begin with the Gospel According to John. The Author of this Gospel unmistakably shows Jesus (a bigger picture) as the fulfillment of all prophecies and testaments, The Son of Man, The Son of God, The Messiah, The Christ, the One a true teacher, the Master, the one with authority to forgive, the Lord, the Savior, the one that will come back, to mention a few. Then move to Luke, Matthew, and Mark to spring forward like an epistle like Colossians or Ephesians. Most of these letters were written by the Apostle Paul. He writes them with particular audiences in the Mediterranean region in mind. Paul authored his notes to urge, caution, and encourage young Christians in their beliefs. They provide clear guidelines for how a Christ-follower ought to behave and live.
And that's not all...
I also recommend that you make a plan; after all, there is a reason why you might not be reading the Bible or maybe stopped. A method and a goal or a vision are necessary.
Decide on a time of day when you'd like to read. It can be in the early morning when the house is all yours and everything is calm before your partner, kids, or fur babies get up. It might happen over your lunch hour at work. Even at nighttime, right before you go to sleep. To develop the discipline of consistently feeding on God's Word, make an effort to read every day.
Prepare the area you've picked so that everything you could need is nearby: a pen, highlighters, your journal, and your coffee or tea (of course). But keep in mind that all you need is an open Bible.
Choose how you might share what has been revealed to you... This is the essential element. The Bible, unlike any other text, is not for entertainment. "Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us the truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word, we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us." --- Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 So take a moment to consider what has been revealed to you, questions or concepts, and begin to share with this around you... You may start with, "Do you want to hear about..." As simple as that...
Don't forget to journey and always begin with prayer. When you study the Scriptures, invite the Holy Spirit—whom you received when you believed in Jesus—to join you. One of its functions as your "helper" (John 14:26) is to coach you in "all things" and to "lead you into all truth" (John 16:13). It is the Holy Spirit that will effectively sustain you in this journey of discovery.
Last but not least. Start by reading just a short excerpt or a chapter a day. Avoid exhausting yourself by reading a whole book at once. Enjoy every Word and every sentence. That's right, enjoy even if you don't understand it, just like you would enjoy a dessert you did not prepare as it is new to you. e.g., Like, a merengue from Passion Fruit. So, spend some time considering what you have read. Write an article about it (You can share it in the next Segway to Sunday. Savor it, and share it with your family of faith.
There are a lot of ways to swing effectively and not strike out. If you seek further assistance or guidance, visit or contact Pastor Mario. firstname.lastname@example.org or call the church office at 352-357-2833.