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I myself had never read the Bible from cover to cover, nor consistently on a daily basis.
But having daily sections to read seemed sensible, and, looking back, I’ve never regretted that decision. Nor, it seems, have the hundreds of readers who have written me, thanking me for prompting them to read the inspired text day by day.
As a Christian author, I find that my Bible reading is usually done in large chunks as I dive into one topic or another. No concordances for me, thank you very much (or, more currently, word searches). I don’t want to miss any pertinent passage that might be lost by simply looking up a single word or phrase.
So whenever I launch into writing a book, I break out a new copy of “The Daily Bible” and read it from cover to cover with the theme of my book in mind. Every verse having any bearing on my theme gets underlined.
When all the pieces of the puzzle are finally on the table, I’m ready to draw my conclusions, formulate a text-prompted approach and get down to the actual writing.
No matter how many times I have read through the Bible this way (it takes about a week), I never tire of reading the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation.
When my publisher asked me to write “The Daily Bible Devotional” as a companion volume, I had no idea what a blessing the year ahead would be: Slowing down to a crawl. Doing the daily readings so as to write something of encouragement or admonition bubbling up from each day’s text.
Even then, there was a temptation to race ahead, exploring more than just one day’s reading at a time. (Readers tell me they struggle with the same temptation.)
But in today’s fast-paced world, faithfully reading the Bible day in and day out is a daunting challenge for many.
The sheer discipline of daily reading seems as impossible to maintain as a New Year’s resolution for daily exercise. Rare are they who can keep their commitment to read even a chapter a day (and rarer still anyone capable of memorizing that chapter, as did C.S. Lewis).
So why read the Bible each and every day?
Think of it this way: Who among us would want to miss even a single day of eating?
Yet God’s Word is our spiritual manna sent down from heaven.
And who would dare go a day without a bath or shower? Yet it’s the Word (both written and incarnate) that cleanses the dross of our evil hearts.
Have you looked at yourself in the mirror at least once today? Why should we not take daily inventory of our souls as well as our bodies?
Daily Scripture reading nourishes, purifies and keeps us honest.
Another good reason to open the Book at some point during each new day is an interesting twist on the rule of Bible study that rightly insists on “context, context, context.”
No matter what kind of day you are having, the Bible addresses the larger context of your life.
Are things not going quite as you had planned?
In the larger frame of things eternal (as almost any daily reading will remind us), the big picture is going precisely as God has planned.
Are you happy as a clam even though you’ve turned your back on God or simply ignored him?
As almost any passage will confirm, there is no true happiness when God is left out of the equation. In order to maintain balance in our lives from one day to the next, we need continual reminders of context, context, context.
Finally, there is the spiritual application of the old saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” which some wag cleverly changed to, “Absence makes the heart go wander!”
Invariably, prolonged absence from the Word results in a heart that wanders. Let enough days go by without personally staying in touch with God’s divine revelation (not just “going to church”) and soon we’ll be strangers in a foreign land. Alone. Confused. Lost.
Yes, of course, it’s possible for us to miss a day’s reading here and there and still remain true to what we believe. (Indeed, there was a time when faithful believers didn’t have the opportunity to read even a single word from Holy Writ.) But what a colossal waste of God’s love, encouragement, warning and wisdom!
Might this be a good day to get ourselves back into the Word? And tomorrow? And the day after?
F. LaGARD SMITH is the compiler of “The Daily Bible” and author of more than 25 books. As special assistant to the president of the C.S. Lewis Foundation, Smith is actively involved in the establishment of C.S. Lewis College in Northfield, Mass. Contact [email protected].
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