Back in July, I led a number of Bible studies on the importance of reading God’s word. I had a great time, and the participants in that particular study seemed to greatly appreciate many of its insights.
I love leading Bible studies like this, because Bible studies often serve me, too. I get to learn and grow and think through ideas, both those on my mind and those which are raised by our culture. And usually, when I walk away from a Bible study, I get to “close the book” on an idea for a while. I’ve explored it, learned what there is to learn, and, satisfied, I move on to the next topic… But not this study. This study has stuck with me. The book has not closed. I’m not satisfied. In fact, if anything, the topic seems more pressing than ever.
Why? Because of Hebrews 2:1. “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” This may be simple to say, but to internalize it and live it is so challenging!
Here’s what I mean: We all know that Bible reading is important, just like proper exercise and diet are important, or car and home maintenance are important. But though I know this, I’m a month past due on an oil change. My exercise most days is my home maintenance! These things are important... but a lot of things are important, and my actions reveal that just because something is important doesn’t mean I do it as often as I should or as well as I should.
We live in a culture which is rapidly secularizing. Our own kids are falling away from Bible study, from church attendance, and falling away from the Church altogether. Surveys show that year over year, the Church in America and in many other countries is declining rapidly.
“This is just the tragic reality of our modern world,” we might think. But Hebrews 2:1 offers us an alternative. “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” Worried that our culture is drifting away from God? Or that your family is? That you are? Hebrews answer is simple: open your Bible, and pay close attention! As James says, be a doer of the word, not a hearer only.
If people we know are falling away, they need the word of God. And if they don’t open their own Bible, where will they get it except from you? So open your Bible. Learn it. Memorize it, even. “You may be the only Bible they ever read!”
I don’t say this often, but I hope this idea unsettles you. I hope it stirs you out of a rut. Gets you moving, reading, studying. In a letter about Bible reading, I think it’s only appropriate to close with a Bible reading. So consider what Paul says in Romans 10:
13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
— Pastor Josh Reifsteck