Today one of our daughters was buying a bible for a friend, and was having trouble deciding which one to buy. That may sound strange unless you have bought a bible recently and have been presented with an array of bibles, translations, paraphrased versions, colours, covers, designs, and whatever else you can think of.
Gone are the days when the only bible available was a big black one that looked heavy enough to take two average sized people to lift it. Now we have a wealth of choice and opportunity to find God’s word packaged in a way that will help us read it.
Although it is impossible to obtain exact figures, there is little doubt that the Bible is the world’s best-selling and most widely distributed book.
Combined global sales of the bible have exceeded 17.75 million copies, and the whole Bible had been translated into 349 languages; 2,123 languages have at least one book of the Bible in that language.
However even though the bible is such a popular and often readily available book, an extraordinary thing has happened. Perhaps familiarity has bred contempt and complacency; or have we forgotten whose words are sitting unread on our bookshelves?
New research has been released that reveals only 19% of churchgoers personally (not as part of a church service) read the Bible every day.
That’s approximately 80% of Christians, who will actually admit to not reading the Bible every day. And if this poll is any indication, the number of Christians who even read the Bible weekly may not be much better. Granted, this study group focused solely on Christians, but a group survey focusing on the entire population revealed that many people don’t really care about reading the Bible these days.
Which is strange when you think about the fact that the bible is still one of the most purchased and popular books in history. Add to that the thought that the bible actually emphatically declares that “God is speaking through the words found in its pages.”
I believe, along with millions of others, that the Bible is literally “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). In other words, it is God’s very words to us. There are so many questions that philosophers have asked that God answers for us in the bible. What is the purpose to life? Where did I come from? Is there life after death? How do I get to heaven? Why is the world full of evil? Why do I struggle to do and be good? In addition to these “big” questions, the Bible gives practical advice in areas such as: What do I look for in a spouse? How can I have a successful marriage? How can I be a good friend? How can I be a good parent? What is success and how do I achieve it? How can I change? What really matters in life? How do I live without regrets? How can I handle circumstances and difficult events of life victoriously?
Considering the amount of self help books, courses, classes, counsellors, and wellness centres being advertised and promoted to help us all live fulfilled, happy, successful and purposeful lives, wouldn’t it make sense that we simply pick up this book, or even download it on our phone or computer? Since the bible addresses many of the questions we ask about life doesn’t it make sense to read what it has to say? Especially since Jesus is historically known as the greatest leader and teacher the world has ever known.
Today why not read this book, known as the book of books and check it out again with fresh eyes. Don’t be surprised to hear God speaking to you; to find answers to your questions, and guidance for the future. But be warned this book is a book that is not just for reading. What it contains God expects us to think over, and then apply to our lives.
It’s been said that reading and thinking about what the bible says can be compared to mining for gold. If we make little effort and merely “sift through the pebbles in a stream,” we will only find a little gold dust. But the more we make an effort to really dig into it, the more reward we will gain for our effort.”
If you have never read the bible before or would like to make it more readily available in your day, try this bible app. Choose a version that’s easy to read such as the NIV or NLT to begin with. https://www.bible.com/app
Prayer: Lord thank you for your words, which help me to know you and to hear you speaking to me. Forgive me when I have taken the bible for granted, and haven’t bothered to find out what you have to say to me. Holy Spirit would you please guide and lead me as I take the time everyday to read it, and help me to understand. In Jesus Name. Amen.