In a well-intentioned effort to motivate daily Bible reading, the church has attempted to make the Bible more accessible. Apps and devotionals aim to make the Bible easier to consume and digest. Sermons are preached at the microscope level. Bible reading plans help us achieve a reading goal in desirable time frames. “Verse of the Day” notifications push morsels of the Word our way. While there is certainly value in these efforts, we cannot deny the problem they also create, namely, that our Bibles have become bite-sized. I’m afraid we have grown content with that measly portion and have lost our wonder at the whole feast. We’re so caught up in the paragraphs that we are falling out of love with the Story.
Has your bite-sized Bible grown your love for God’s Word? Has it led to more consistent and meaningful Bible reading? Maybe it has for you. But what I’ve found in my own life and in conversations with many of my Christian friends is that it has hardly improved anything. The attainability of only having one chapter to read tomorrow morning isn’t motivating us to feast on the Word.
There has to be another approach that makes for a more worthwhile time in the Word and makes us want to get out of bed to read about it. I believe the Story, treated as a story, is the key. Reading large portions of Scripture in one sitting is right and necessary and will increase the breadth and depth of our knowledge of God.
THE LIMIT OF BUSY-NESS
The notion of reading large swaths of Scripture as opposed to more “bite-sized” pieces may scare you. After all, there are only twenty-four hours in our days; eight of those are spent asleep; another eight or more are spent at work. Most of us probably already feel the lack of margin in our lives—it’s all we can do to fit in a five-minute devotional.
Please understand, I am not oblivious to your busy-ness. I am learning what it means to be busy as each week passes. In the past few months, I have watched both my family and my job expand. Adding a baby and new pastoral responsibilities to my plate have me wondering if they make bigger plates! When the baby will not stop crying and the meetings and deadlines begin to pile up, Scripture reading is not naturally at the forefront of my mind. I sympathize with you feeling like you’re trying to manage life with whatever Bible you can fit in whenever it seems to happen.
With that said, I do believe it would be wise to get a little more honest about how busy we are—and perhaps even better, if busy is best. Our Ace of Spades for getting out of anything is that we’re too busy. But the fascinating truth about time is that everyone has the same amount of it—24 hours—each day. There are solutions to recover healthy time in God’s Word in the face of our busy-ness problem if we are willing to face them.