Wednesday, June 15, 2011
HOW often do you look at yourself in a mirror? For most of us, this is a daily practice—perhaps something we do several times every day. Why? Because we are concerned about our appearance.
Reading the Bible can be likened to peering into a mirror. (James 1:23-25) The message recorded in God’s Word has the power to allow us to see ourselves as we really are. It “pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit.” (Hebrews 4:12) In other words, it divides what we appear to be on the outside from what we really are on the inside. It shows us where adjustments are needed, just as a mirror does.
The Bible not only reveals where adjustments need to be made but also helps us to make those adjustments. The apostle Paul wrote: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) Notice, of the four benefits highlighted, three of them—reproving, setting things straight, and disciplining—involve adjustments in our attitude and actions. If we need to look regularly in a mirror to ensure that our appearance is acceptable, how much more so must we read God’s Word, the Bible, on a regular basis!
Upon appointing Joshua to lead the nation of Israel, Jehovah God told him: “This book of the law should not depart from your mouth, and you must in an undertone read in it day and night, in order that you may take care to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way successful and then you will act wisely.” (Joshua 1:8) Yes, to be successful, Joshua needed to read God’s Word “day and night,” on a regular basis.
The first psalm likewise extols the benefits of regular Bible reading when it states: “Happy is the man that has not walked in the counsel of the wicked ones, and in the way of sinners has not stood, and in the seat of ridiculers has not sat. But his delight is in the law of Jehovah, and in his law he reads in an undertone day and night. And he will certainly become like a tree planted by streams of water, that gives its own fruit in its season and the foliage of which does not wither, and everything he does will succeed.” (Psalm 1:1-3) Surely we want to be like such a man.
Many people make it a daily habit to read the Bible. When asked why he reads the Bible every day, one Christian replied: “If I repeatedly pray to God during the day and expect him to hear me, why shouldn’t I also listen to God by reading his Word every day? If we want to be a good friend, why would we do all the talking?” He has a point. Reading the Bible is just like listening to God because we thereby get his viewpoint on matters.
Meeting the Challenge
Perhaps you have already tried to start a Bible reading program. Have you read the entire Bible from cover to cover? That is an excellent way to become more familiar with its contents. However, some have started many times to read the entire Bible, only to find that their program gets interrupted. Have you faced this challenge? What can you do to reach the goal of reading the entire Bible? Why not try the following two suggestions?
Can you set aside time each day for Bible reading?
Schedule Bible reading into your daily routine. Select a time each day when you will most likely be able to do your Bible reading. Also plan a backup strategy. If for some reason you are unable to do your Bible reading at your preferred time, have another time selected so that you never let a day go by without reading God’s Word. In this way you will imitate the example of the ancient Beroeans. Of them, we are told: “They received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.”−Acts 17:11.
Have a specific goal in mind. For example, if you read from three to five chapters of the Bible every day, you can read the entire Bible in just one year. The chart on the following page shows how this can be done. Why not make it your resolve to try this program? Under the heading “Date,” plan out when you will read each set of chapters. Then, in the box provided, check off the sections as you read them. Doing so will help you keep track of your progress.
Once you have read the entire Bible, why stop there? You can use the same schedule to read the entire Bible every year, perhaps starting each time from a different section. Or if you would like to complete your reading of the Bible at a slower pace, you can take two or three days to read each of the scheduled readings.
Each time you read the Bible, you will find new things that apply to your life—things that you have never noticed before. Why? “The scene of this world is changing,” and our lives and circumstances are changing constantly too. (1 Corinthians 7:31) Make it your firm determination, then, to look daily in the mirror of God’s Word, the Bible. In this way, you can be sure that you allow God to speak to you every day.—Psalm 16:8.