“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 3:16-4:2).
“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13).
There was a time when there were very few Bibles, even in cultured lands. There were no printing presses, and most of the people were illiterate. If people received the Word, it was through the public reading of Scripture by people who could read and had the Scriptures. Even then, it was read in Latin, not in a language people could understand. In the church today in this country, we can read, and we each own at least one Bible in our own language.
At one of our schools of practical Christianity, I asked the students three questions. “How long have you been a Christian? How many times have you read the New Testament? How many times have you read the Old Testament?” When the answers were added up, we found out that the average reading of the New Testament was every 2.5 years, and the average reading of the Old Testament was once every 7 years.
I asked the same three questions at a men’s conference shortly afterward. The total number of years of Christianity was 514.5 years. The total number of times through the New testament was 36, and through the Old Testament was 18. In other words, they read the New Testament once every 14 years and the Old every 28 years. This amounts to spending less than 30 seconds a day in the Bible. This is not very encouraging.
If you are a very slow reader, you can still read the whole Bible through in 80 hours. (How do I know? That is the length of the average audio Bible.)
If you are a listener instead of a reader, you can listen to the whole Bible online or through an audio Bible app. I used to listen in my car and enjoyed it very much.
In spite of the abundant availability of Scripture to us, many Christians struggle to develop a habit of reading – simply reading the Word. We have overcomplicated and under appreciated it. To keep you accountable and help you stick with it, I encourage you to join the To the Word! Bible Reading Challenge. You will read the entire Bible through, starting September 7 and ending in May.