Get in the word! 2021

Get In The Word
more not less
1 Peter 2:2

I wrote on a blog post recently were a very prominent author was encouraging people not to read the Bible through in one year. Let me say first of all I understand why he was doing that. His plan they would take eight chapters a month and will dig through certain books of the Bible. That’s a good plan. Except it doesn’t match up for where we are these days. Not in the idea of his plan, but the tone of his plan. It sets a low bar in some ways, for some people.

If the global pandemic has shown Christians anything, it must show us that we need to be in the word of God. When we read and study and teach the word of God, we fall under the authority of God. It’s there that we find the story of God for our own lives.

One of the greatest treasures of this pandemic has been that I personally realize that my personal Bible study was lacking. It was lackluster. And it needed renewal. Oh sure I was studying for Sundays. I was reading my Bible devotionally. I was praying. But that’s different then personal, digging in, Bible study. I’ve had a revival and personal renewal of study that is for nothing else than the joy of God.

The day of the 15 minute devotion is over. I’m encouraging you to add more Bible study not less.

Here’s the thing. If we have time to binge watch everything on Netflix and Amazon Prime and the Disney channel, we have time for the word of God.

The 15 minute approach to devotions is ok, but the bar has been raised in 2020.

Here’s my suggestion to you.

One hour. 
Give God one hour a day. This hour can be broken up into a couple of different sit downs. But give God one hour. Sometimes I read and study and devote myself  (Acts 2:42) to the word of God, but then I leave it. I have to get on to something else yet I can leave it there for later in the day, in the evening, and it makes all the difference. I don’t always look at it as one time. Look at it as multiple engagements in the word of God. Immerse yourself in The Book.

By the way, by one hour I mean don’t watch the clock. One hour would be an example but not a legalistic requirement. We want our relationship with the Lord to be life giving. We are on the guilt free program.

Read 15-20 minutes. 
I encourage you to read the Bible through in one year. Or do as I just did in 2020. Read only the New Testament through in one year. If you read the Bible through in one year you just have to read three chapters a day. It’s doable. It should be unconscionable that we would be able to sit with social media addictions, Netflix infatuations, and yet neglect our time in the word of God. You need a simple reading plan. Reading only, not studying yet.

People say, “how much of the Bible am I really going to remember if I read it through in one year?“ That question assumes that you have to remember everything. Ken Hemphill says “we read the Bible and study the Bible not just to get facts, but they get to know the Author.“ I would argue that the story of God is enough. You can’t know the story if you don’t read it. And if you were to read the Bible consistently, trust me you will learn the story. Will you remember all of the facts of the story? No! But that should not be an excuse to not engage with the Author of creation. Better, when you read, you will find your story in His Story.

Study 20-25.
I want to encourage you to study the word as well as read the word. Now I can hear somebody saying, “what’s the difference man?“ The difference is reading is devotional and it’s just the reading. Studying is digging into the word enough to go at least 1 inch down and learn something you didn’t know before. It’s learning the context of a passage. It’s learning a biblical word. It’s outlining a passage. It’s learning how to do study using tools at our disposal (Why did God give us phones? LOL). And when we dig in long enough and deep enough, the Holy Spirit enriches us and implants his word even more deeper in us (James 1:21).

I want to encourage you to take some notes. Write some things down. If all you do is doodle them, that’s no problem. You’re learning, you’re processing, and together, we are growing in the word of God through study.

Linger/Pray 10-15.
As you’re sitting there reading and studying, you will begin to “linger.” I call this the time where I’m sitting there in prayer. I pray a list of names and I pray for people. Sometimes in the morning I will already be getting texts from people requiring ministry. I love that part. It’s the time where I just sit there. Sometimes it’s in between reading and studying. Sometimes it’s before I do anything else. Sometimes it’s after I’m done reading and studying. Regardless you need that linger prayer time in your life. When we do these things the Holy Spirit fills us fresh every single day (Acts 17:11; Eph. 5:18). 

Tomorrow is the big day. January 1, 2021. How exciting it will be if we wake up tomorrow with a new opportunity to serve the Lord. I’m excited about the future. I want to encourage you with all that I am to be in the word of God daily. And then as you grow give it away to someone else.

"Desire the pure milk of the word so that by it you may grow into your salvation." 1 Pet. 2:2

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