Our teens are going through a study in our morning Sunday School class about “How to Read the Bible.” As I’ve been preparing and studying for this series, I came across some inspiring quotes about the Bible.
I can’t say I have fully digested all of the quotes. One in particular got my wheels turning:
“The Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to one who isn’t.” (Vance Havner but also credited elsewhere as Charles Spurgeon)
I think I get what the intention of the quote is, and appreciate it, however it got me thinking about the way we view reading the Bible.
One of the great ironies of the Christian life is the perception people have of someone who prays, reads the Bible and practices other spiritual disciplines. Generally, the perception is that the person must be very pious; very holy and a very spiritual person. This may often be so as the Lord sanctifies the saint into increasing holiness. We are, as believers in Christ and recipients of His Holy Spirit, commanded to grow and be Holy (1 Peter 1:16, 2 Corinthians 7:1).
More often than not, however, I see my spiritual disciplines as a desperate cry. To find me reading the scripture, memorizing Bible verses, or praying is what I must do to stay afloat. How is a man perceived who visits to the dentist? If it is once every 6 months or so, we are satisfied to think it is a mere check up and perhaps a preventative measure is being taken. But if the man is repeatedly and frequently going to the dentist, isn’t he pitied? “Surely,” we think, “there must be something wrong.” So it is that in my realization of my need, I seek the supplier all the more.
I have the suspicion that the most pious and holy people would say that they see themselves as desperate for more of God’s Holiness; that they are craving to go deeper into a satisfying knowledge of God rather than out of a maintenance of some long ago obtained level of holiness. I know the Apostle Paul said in regards to becoming more like Christ, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own (Philippians 3:12).”
This is the secret under our very nose. We do not read the Bible, pray, meditate, fast, or memorize scripture because we are righteous people; rather, we are declared righteous (positionally through faith in Jesus) but the work is still being carried out (1 Corinthians 1:18).