Are We Being Exposed To Too Much Of The Bible?

Can I hear you say, did I read that right?  How could anyone be exposed to too much of the Bible?  I am aware that most of you reading this blog will be serious, godly people, but the title is ‘Gentle Reformation’ and surely our desire is that there would be a gentle reformation in the lives of those around us who profess faith in Christ but are struggling to live it.
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I think one of the issues facing the church today is the fact that too few Christians are actually living as Christians because too few Christians are actually reading their Bible. Why is this the case?  Is it because too many Christians think that they are probably getting enough of the Bible already, from their multiple contacts with it through the church?  If that is the case, therein lies a grave danger.  For it indicates that many Christians are confusing exposure to the Bible with engagement with God through His Word?  (Even if that exposure is of a really good quality.)
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Think about it.  What does the normal church/personal life look like with reference to God’s Word.  On a Sunday you have Sunday school or Bible classes with doctrinal or thematic teaching, one, hopefully two worship services, and then during the week, a midweek meeting/Bible study group.  On top of that, when you add in personal quiet time and family worship, it’s probably the case that most people, if they are taking these opportunities, are being exposed to at least six or seven passages from various parts of the Bible. The question is, can we properly engage with such a variety of God’s Word in a week?  Can we actually meaningfully hear, receive, consider, ruminate on, and then do it.  It’s a serious point. Think of what you have heard, read, and studied from the Bible in the past seven days.  How much of it has actually impacted your thinking and then living? Could it be that many Christians have given up on meaningful engagement with God, simply because they just can’t cope with the flood of biblical information.  Is there a descent into not reading and studying, because many young converts have become so overwhelmed that they have just given up.  Rather than just inviting them to participate in numerous contacts with the Bible each week, and presuming that they will feast on it all, would it not be wiser to try and encourage them to learn at a steady measured pace.  Then as they grow, and show evidence of lived out understanding,  encourage them to engage increasingly more in God’s Word.
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I know that when the logic of what I am saying is taken to it’s extreme, it would mean we’d start with just one point of contact with the Bible per week and then work up.  But let’s not go to the extreme, let’s think about how we can sensibly address where we are now.
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Here’s what we do, and please note I am not holding it up as a perfect scenario, just as one possibility.  We have our Sunday school/Bible classes which focus on doctrine, we do worship God twice on the Lord’s Day, but then we give the folks in the congregation the opportunity to get to grips with just one or two chapter/s of the Bible per week in their personal quiet time and family worship through the in-house Bible reading notes we produce.    Then during the week we use the same passage/s as the subject for our midweek Bible study groups, and also for the next Lord’s Day children’s address at morning worship.
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It’s not a perfect approach, but it has proved to have its benefits. When someone is converted, if they take the opportunity up, which they are encouraged to, they have a starting point to help them read their Bibles each day.  If they have young children, they then have a simple model to begin family worship with.  When they then come to a midweek Bible study, they will have already read and considered the passage for themselves and with their children. On the following Lord’s Day their children get the opportunity to address questions on the passage and be drawn into the process of building  on their covenant relationship with God.   So instead of being exposed to at least six or seven passages of the Bible, generally speaking it’s three or four.
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Now obviously if someone wants to read and study more of God’s Word every day they will be encouraged in that, without any hesitation. The goal though surely must be to get as many people as possible taking time to read, think about, ruminate upon, and then acting on God’s Word in their lives. And maybe that might just take a little bit of unconventional thinking to achieve.
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What do you think?
(By the way it also provides for good discussion within the whole body life of the Church.)

One Comment

  1. Jude Barton May 29, 2015 at 10:19 am #

    Yes, thank you. I like that approach. As I thought about it, I believe it would benefit me personally to revisit and focus daily on the OT or NT reading that is weekly delivered from the pulpit. Or alternatively using the evening worship theme (currently the Lord’s Prayer) as my daily meditation. Thank you for the encouragement.

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