The following is the text from my bulletin insert. I am designing a series of weekly inserts to help me better explain the Wesleyan Way of Discipleship. You can download a pdf of this insert at the end of blog.
This week, you are encouraged to ask a church member the following:
When was the last time that your simply read your Bible?
Let me begin with what are referred to as individual acts of piety. These are things that we are able to do without the presence or assistance of anyone else. We don’t have to be in a certain place. We don’t have to be with a group of people. We can practice them any where and any time of the day or night.
Specifically, I want us to look at the role that the Scriptures have in making us a more holy people. We assert that the Bible is God’s inspired Word that is given to us. We assert that it is the manual by which we will live our lives. We assert that it contains everything that we need to know about God and God’s actions in this universe and in our lives.
We assert these things. To assert means to “state a fact or belief confidently and forcefully .” (Google dictionary) Just how confident and forceful are we when it comes to our interaction with the Scriptures. It is one thing to stand up and say, “The Bible is the Word of God.” It is quite another thing to actually internalize it by interacting with it.
In the next couple of weeks, I will talk about ways for us to interact with the Bible. This week. I simply want us to consider whether or not we read it.
Have you read a good book lately? Perhaps some of your friends might ask you that question. Could you truthfully respond by saying “I have not read a good book, but I am reading the Good Book.” In this age where we can get our books in printed formats or electronically, there is really no excuse for us to say that we do not have access to the Bible. Any lack of access comes not from availability of the text, but rather from non-interest on our part.
Last year, I completed a read through the entire Bible. It took me about 18 months. It wasn’t a daily read, but I tried to read at least 5-6 days per week. I was amazed at all the little stories, especially in the Old Testament, that I had forgotten over the years. Of course we all know the big stories...wait a minute...researchers are telling us that we don’t. It is now suggested that preacher no longer simply reference the story of Jonah, but rather explain it whenever it is referenced. More and more people don’t read the Bible and are clueless as to the plots of the various stories contained within it. They don’t know what we preachers often refer to in a passing manner when we try to make our point. Thus, we often fail to communicate.
So. At the very least we need to just read the Bible. Don’t worry about studying it or trying to figure it all out. First, learn to read it and let it simply speak to you and more importantly, pray that God would speak through the words of Scripture to enlighten your spirit.
I am just a simple United Methodist pastor. I am an elder in the Holston Annual Conference. This blog is my attempt to share the insights that I have gathered from John Wesley's writings and from others more knowledgable than myself in regards to Wesley. I am not a scholar. Perhaps you could best think of me as a practical theologian.