But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
"Evangelist Robert L. Sumner, in his book The Wonder of the Word of God, tells of a man in Kansas City who was severely injured in an explosion. His face was badly disfigured, and he lost his eyesight as well as both hands. He had just become a Christian when the accident happened, and one of his greatest disappointments was that he could no longer read the Bible. Then he learned about a lady in England who read braille with her lips. Hoping to do the same, he sent for some books of the Bible in braille. But he discovered that the nerve endings in his lips had been too badly damaged to distinguish characters. One day, as he brought one of the braille pages to his lips, his tongue happened to touch a few of the raised characters and he could feel them. Like a flash he thought, 'I can read using my tongue.' At the time when Robert Sumner wrote his book, the man had read through the entire Bible four times." (Whitney p.35)*
Let me ask you a question...how often do you read your Bible? Did you know that it only takes about 74 hours to read through the entire Bible. (My wife and I just bought an ESV Audio Bible to listen to in the car and it is just over 74 hours long). A quick Google search will tell you that the average American watches that much TV in three weeks. Just 15 minutes a day will get you through the entire Bible in less than a year. Even five minutes a day will get you through it in less than three years. Yet, how many of you have been Christians for 5, 10, 15 years or more and have never read the entire Bible?*
I know that last part sounded pretty accusatory, but I am not innocent here. While I have read through the Bible through a number of times, I still do not read it as much as I should. Today's passage of Scripture convicts me of any number of sins, but I feel its sting especially in regard to God's Word today. Not all believers throughout history have had the full Bible. In fact, I would argue that those of us who do are in the minority. I believe that the last book of the Bible was not written until about 96 AD. Even then it wasn't until the printing press that copies were really made widely available so that every Christian could have one. Even now, Christians throughout the world have trouble getting Bibles. There are still countries that Bibles have to be smuggled into because the government does not want them in the hands of its people. Yet, if you are like me, you have the full Bible at your fingertips in any number of translations and in any number of formats whenever you want it. And what do you do with it? Chances are that you ignore it.
One day you will have to stand before your God who took great pains to make this Word, His Word, available to you, and I believe that you will have to give an account for what you have done with that Word. I believe I will have to give an account for what I have done with that Word as well. So I advise you to do as I am doing. Repent of your neglect of God's Word. Ask His forgiveness and ask for His help in changing your heart towards the Bible. Ask the Lord to give you a burning desire to read His Word and then make a plan to read it more. My plan includes quiet times every morning with my wife, an audio Bible for the car, music from Seeds Family Worship, a small notebook for memory verses that I now carry with me wherever I go, and a pocket-size NIV Bible that I keep in my car. Even with a plan as thorough as that it is still a daily struggle for me to carve out time to spend in God's Word. But, with God's help and the help of my wife, I am doing better. I pray you will too.
For further reading...
- Psalms or Proverbs- A good place to start to get a little more Word into your life. Each psalm and proverb more or less stand on their own, so you can read small chunks at a time.
- Mark- This fast-paced Gospel is a good way to go as well.
- John- This Gospel written for Greeks spells out Jesus divinity in a manner that is more clear to today's reader. Never a bad choice.
Whitney, Donald S. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2002.
*I owe not only this quote but most of the thoughts in this post to Whitney's book.