A few months ago I lost my Bible. I am not the most organised of people, as those of you who know me can attest, and my Bible is something that journeys with me most places that I go.
So somewhere I had put it down and forgotten to pick it up. I searched everywhere I could think of – high and low. It left me feeling bereft – I mean, I have other Bibles, but this was MY Bible. It was a special Bible designed to add notes and draw – it had seen me through ordination and priesting and I knew it. I knew where to flip to for certain verses and where to find certain passages. I felt lost.
But it didn’t stop me reading my Bible. I am always surprised – although I shouldn’t be – how much reading my Bible helps me with living my life in today’s busy world. At the moment I am reading through Philippians and it is incredible the wisdom that can be found in these wonderful words written so many years ago. A few days ago I was in a particularly grumpy mood and was grumbling and belly aching about pretty much everything. I picked up my Bible to read, and happened upon Philippians 2.14-16: ‘Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.’
Well, that told me! Actually, it helped a lot – it made me stop, remember my blessings, and remember to respond generously and graciously to life’s little hiccups.
At the Queen’s Coronation she was handed a Bible with the words ‘We present you with this Book, the most valuable thing that this world affords.’ Perhaps if we held the Bible in that esteem the world would be in a much better place. Jesus said in Matthew 4.4, ‘People do not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’
As we work through the ‘Holy Habits’ in our church services this year, reading your Bible is one that I would very much encourage you to prioritise. This incredible book has the words of life. Nicky Gumbel says that it is ‘like a love letter from God. When you get a letter from someone you love, you treasure that letter – not because of the letter, because the letter itself is nothing, in a way; it’s because of the person who wrote it. And it’s the same with the Bible. This book in itself is nothing; it’s because of the author, and because the author wants to be in a relationship with you. He wants to speak to you. That’s why it’s precious. Jesus said this: ‘You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me.’ He says: ‘This book’s all about me.’ (John 5.39–40)
How do we read the Bible? Well, in this day and age there are multiple ways if reading it – on your phone, on the computer, listen to it in car. You can have different versions – even one in cartoons. There are notes to help you and guide you, suggestions on which books to read when, and podcasts if you want to listen to other people’s thoughts.
The most recent research suggests it takes two months of regular activity for a habit to form. So why not commit to reading a little bit of your Bible every day for the next two months? Perhaps when you get up or when you go to bed, in your lunch break or after you have walked the dog. Could you set a reminder on your phone or ask a friend or loved one to jog your memory? If you read your Bible every day for two months that’ll get you pretty much to Christmas!
Oh, and I did find my Bible! It was on the book case at one of our local nursing homes. I hope someone picked up and had a read, but I was very glad to get it back!
With every blessing