When an article (like this one) is written, the first sentence is typically essential because it needs to compel a reader to become invested in the first paragraph. If that can happen, then perhaps the words will create a trail that will be followed to a meaningful end. But this doesn’t always happen, because we don’t always finish what we start. Take the Bible for example . . .
Since these paragraphs are about the Scriptures and our busy lives, I’m assuming you’re going to speed-read this because it’s sandwiched between other responsibilities and obligations. Whatever story I could concoct to entice you further may be lost to other distractions—and there are no shortages of distractions in our lives.
Data is flying at us gigabytes at a time. Marketing specialists have finely tuned messaging that serves up a smorgasbord of products and services that will fix everything from our smiles to our sex lives. But it’s not working. And we know it. We can have bloated lives full of the trappings of culture and still feel empty—and hungry. This, of course, is where the Bible comes in, but does the Bible even fit into a modern life on any given modern day?
Is the Bible really that important to us?
Surveys have shown that most people believe the Bible contains truth and that it holds the answers to the basic questions of life, and yet few of us have an intimate relationship with it. Even though we claim to need the Bible, spending intentional time in its pages gets pushed to the bottom of our to-do lists, and rarely gets accomplished.
How could something so important seem to mean so little in practice? The ironies are compounding because we know we’re spiritually starving, we want to have a better relationship with God, we believe the Bible is the truth, and we believe it contains answers for our lives, yet a relationship with the Bible is oddly the one thing we continue to ignore.
Obviously, we could turn this little collection of words into something that would make us feel guilty and ashamed, but that will only work for about a day. Being obligated to the Bible doesn’t exactly get us out of bed in the morning. So, what’s the trick? How do we incorporate the Bible into the busyness of our lives?
Why is the Bible important?
For starters, we have to step away from our culture and understand that the Bible isn’t a product that we can consume. It doesn’t work that way. The Bible isn’t the magic elixir that will make us prosperous or bestow mystical powers on us. Rather, the Bible is a story—many stories in fact—collected into sixty-six books spanning thousands of years and thousands of geographical miles. It contains many types of literature ranging from public and private letters to the prophetic. Indeed, it can seem overwhelming. However, the fundamental purpose for this collection is to reveal a God who is unwilling to be left out of the human story—your story. And that little distinction changes everything because the God of the Bible is also the God of your story.
We are all searching for truth and meaning—it’s a hunger that we attempt to fill in all sorts of ways. The Bible provides thousands of years of context for this. It reveals the pathways people choose, and the outcomes of those choices while offering us a window into our own motivations. It’s not just a book every believer should read once in their lives. Instead, it’s perhaps the best friend you’ve never had! It will look you straight in the face and tell you the truth when no one else will. If we would consider the Bible less as something to be quickly ingested out of obligation, and more as a wise friend who will guide us, we would begin to appreciate it for the gift that it is.
We will make time for whatever we value most. In fact, we’ll regularly pay people for their time to help us untangle our lives. Which is totally fine. But why wouldn’t we also make time to allow the wisdom of the ages to wash over us for free?
Desire to know what the Scriptures say
I could tell you that you could read the entire Bible in a year if you would invest fifteen minutes a day to do it. For that matter, I could tell you that I’ve been doing exactly that out loud for fourteen years every day on the Daily Audio Bible, and you can listen to the entire Bible in the time you might otherwise waste. There are no shortages of reading plans and programs for fitting the Bible into your life. But here’s the truth: none of that will work until your desire to really know what the Scriptures have to say on their own behalf outweighs your desire for whatever currently occupies that time. If we examine our lives, we will see that the time is actually there. Perhaps now is the time.
Maybe understanding that the Bible isn’t only a book to be read, but also a book that will read us can lead us toward what we’ve been searching for all along: the truth, a foundation, a holy context for life.
The story found in the Bible is a story that has not yet reached its conclusion. It is the unstoppable story of God and his unwillingness to abandon you. To develop a relationship with the Bible is to finally find your place in that story. Once you do, you will begin to see with the eyes of your heart, the way you were meant to, and you might end up wondering why you waited so long.
Photo credit: Pexels/Luis Quintero
Brian Hardin is the vision and voice of Daily Audio Bible which boasts more than 150,000 daily listeners. Brian is an ordained minister, an accomplished record producer with more than 150 albums to his credit, a respected photographer, and a graphic designer whose work has been featured in high-profile publications, including TIME Magazine. He is the author of Passages: How Reading the Bible in a Year Will Change Everything for You and Reframe: From the God We've Made to God With Us.