Summer brings to us longer days and a slower pace. Many are on vacation and this gifts us more time to do the things we love or haven’t had a chance to do.
If you haven’t already, I’m suggesting, as believers, adding one important discipline to your daily schedule—Bible reading. As important as prayer is, we can’t do without a devoted time to letting our minds absorb, and dwell in, Scripture. It’s not enough to meditate on the word through listening to sermons or reading devotionals, but having our focused attention on the written word of God is vital. So pick up your Bible, and if possible, read it in book form—don’t read it on an electronic device, but keep a notebook and pen or pencil nearby. And then, write out the verses that seem to speak to you.
Jesus tells us that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt. 4:4). Jesus himself spent his time in reading and quoting from the Old Testament. If it was important for him to do, then it is even more important for us to make it a daily habit.
Daily Bible reading renews our mind and deepens us theologically. If our theology is faulty, our view of God will be defective. When we apply our minds and will to daily Bible reading, we understand better who God is and draw closer to him. As with any relationship, unless we are in constant and personal contact with the person we love, we will drift away and it is easy for passing fancies and popular trends to influence our thinking. The apostle Paul is very clear, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:2).
John Piper stresses the importance of reading the Bible for illumination: “That’s a gift of the Holy Spirit. He causes God himself—his character, his will, his ways—to shine through the Scriptures. The key to having this illumination is prayer. I say that because in Ephesians 1:18, Paul prays for it. He prays that the eyes of their hearts would be illumined. So pray for illumined reading.”
Dane Ortlund, Executive Vice President of Bible publishing and Bible publisher at Crossway, asks: “Will you come to the winter of your life and wish you had checked your mutual funds more often? Or slept in more? Or read more blog posts? Probably not. But we will not regret one moment of time spent in the Bible. Make it your lifelong friend. Invest. Build it into your life. Become deeper, a more solid human being, over many years of Bible reading.”
Daily Bible reading is a building block of faith, hope, and joy. Enjoy your summer reading!