Today let's talk about the Bible. It is so important you understand how to use the Bible to find the answers to the questions you have about life, but the Bible is more than just information. The Bible is God's love letter to us.
Before my wife and I got married, we were in a long-distance relationship. I moved from Kansas City and lived here in Albuquerque, but she still lived in Kansas City. We talked on the phone every day, and that was when long-distance cost 25 cents a minute. As a result, we wrote a lot of letters to each other because a stamp on an envelope was a lot cheaper.
When I got her letter to me in the mail, no one had to tell me, "Hey, you got a letter from Christy today now go read it." Are you crazy? No one had to tell me to read that letter. I would grab that letter and go off to a quiet place, and I would read that letter over and over again. She always doused it with perfume, and I would smell that letter. Oh my!
If you love the letter writer, you will want to devour every word written to you.
The Bible is God's love letter to you. The Bible is the primary way that God speaks to us. When we read the Bible, we are reading God's plan and purpose for our life. Now let me be honest. There will be days when you are reading a chapter of Scripture, and whatever question you had, whatever it was that you were facing, suddenly a verse will pop off the page. That verse will be God's answer for your situation, and you will sit back absolutely amazed because God spoke directly to you about what you were facing. This will happen more often than you think.
But I want to be completely honest. There will be days where you will read the Bible, and nothing pops off the page. There will be days when you read the Bible, and nothing will speak to you. Understand that is normal. Do not freak out. Keep reading, and I promise you, God will speak to you more than you think.
The question is,
How do we establish some time in our daily routine to read God's love letter to us?
1. You need to set a daily appointment to read one chapter of God's word a day.
What time works best for you? Some of us are morning people. You get out of bed and say, "Good Morning, Lord." You need to schedule your time with God when you are having that first cup of coffee. Others of us are not morning people. You wake up and say, "Good Lord, it's morning." You might want to pick another time. For some of you, your time will be while you are eating lunch. Others it might be before you got to bed. What time will it be for you?
Once you have figured that out, set a daily reminder on your phone and write "My Time with God." It's true, isn't it? We set appointments and reminders for important things to us, and I can't think of anything more important than spending a few minutes with God each day.
Understand it is impossible to be close to someone if you never spend any time with them. Eventually, a neglected relationship grows cold and distant. God has time for you. The question is, will you make time for Him.
The goal I have for you is to read one chapter of the Bible each day. That will take the average person 3 minutes a day, but those three minutes will be the most impactful minutes of your day.
2. Make sure you have a Bible that is easy to read.
There are all kinds of different translations of the Bible. Some of those translations are easy to read, and some are hard. I would recommend the New Living Translation of the Bible. We call that version the NLT. It is the easiest translation of the Bible to understand.
I will read a verse of Scripture from the King James Bible, and then we will compare that same verse in the New Living Translation.
The verse we are looking at is found in Psalm 119:9. Here is the King James version of that verse.
"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word." Psalm 119:9 (KJV)
Let me ask you a question. Do you know anyone who talks like that anymore? I guess that is how people talked back in the 1600s, but people don't talk like that anymore. Let's look at that same verse in the NLT. The New Living Translation.
"How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word."
Do you see how much easier that verse is to understand? In our bookstore at all of our campuses, you can buy a really great New Living Translation Bible. I would recommend you buy a New Living Translation Study Bible. I would recommend the Life Application Study Bible. Tomorrow we will talk about how to use that Bible so you can get as much out of God's word as possible.
3. Start in the right place.
Many times, when people decide to read the Bible, they think they should start reading at the very beginning because that is what you do when you are reading a book. You start on page one, but the Bible is a collection of 66 different books, so you don't need to start at page 1. In fact, I would encourage you to start off reading the New Testament. On our Sagebrush Bible app, which I am sure you have downloaded by now, there is a tab at the bottom that says Bible.
If you click on that tab, two different reading plans will pop up. There is a reading plan to read the entire Bible (both Old and New Testaments), and there is a New Testament reading plan. I would encourage you to start with the New Testament reading plan. I would love it if you read one chapter every day from that plan. It will take about three minutes a day to read that day's chapter, and overall from start to finish; it will take about nine months to read the entire New Testament.
When you and I asked Jesus to come into our life, we not only wanted Him to forgive us of our sins so we could go to heaven when we die, but we also wanted a close relationship with Jesus where He leads us and guides us. It's so difficult to be led by God if you are not reading God's word. You have to make this time a priority of your daily schedule.
4. When you read the Bible, don't read it too fast.
When we sit down to eat, we don't sit there and say ready, set, go, and then try to eat it as fast as possible. Most of us don't.
When you read the Bible, take your time. Ask yourself what is happening in this chapter? What are these people feeling? What are they seeing? Why does God want me to know this? What is He trying to say to me?
One last thing. If you aren't in a small group, I would highly encourage you to get into one. A small group will help you understand more and more of God's word, and you will find some of the best friends you have ever had in your small group.
Let me end by asking you a question. If you were marooned on a desert island and could have only a single book with you, what would you choose?
Somebody once asked this question of G.K. Chesterton. Given his reputation as one of the best Christian writers in the first half of the twentieth century, one would naturally expect his response to be the Bible. It was not. Chesterton chose Thomas' Guide to Practical Shipbuilding.
That makes sense, of course. When we're trapped on an island, we want a book that will help us get home. We don't want to be entertained or even informed. We want a book that will show us how to be saved.
There is only one book that can get you home safely. Please read it every single day.
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