by Tad Lindley
Seems like this column has become my annual beginning of the year message. Please take me seriously. Do the Lord a great big favor: read your Bible this year!
Imagine that somebody had heroically saved your life in the past. At great risk to their own life, they had plucked you out of the jaws of death. Now imagine that they called you up today saying, “I was wondering if you could do me a little favor.” You would say, “Yes!” Now suppose the friend tells you this: “It may sound strange, but I was wondering if you would take ten or fifteen minutes every morning for this next year to get a cup of coffee ready for me. I’ll stop by the house to get it, but not come in unless you insist.” Most would say, “Absolutely, I’ll even have you in for breakfast.”
What if President Biden called you at your home and asked you to do some great thing for our nation? “We need someone from Bethel to pray and fast for our men and women stuck in Afghanistan. And I was wondering if you would be able to help.” Would you do it? Of course you would, even the staunchest Republican would lay down party differences to do a great thing for our President.
God wants you to do him a favor
What if God spoke to you and said, “There’s something I need you to do.” Would you do it? Would you do a favor for the one who knew you in your mother’s womb? Would you help out the God whose mercy has kept you until this very day? Would you go out of your way for the One who has provided your food and clothing and shelter? Would you do a great thing for the very God who gave his life for you while you were living in sin?
Well, as it turns out, God does have a favor to ask of you. It is found in Isaiah 34:16: Look in the scroll of the Lord and read…(NIV). God is looking for a people that would be hungry enough for him that they would actually read his words. The Lord wants you to read the entire Bible this year.
“Brother Tad, how do you know that?” I know it, because that is what he wants for all people. He wants us all to desire to know him and to please him. The word of God speaks this wonderful praise for the people of a town named Berea: Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11 NIV) He wants us to be able to compare what we hear with what the Bible tells us. Galatians 1:8 declares, But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. Since we didn’t hear the Apostles preach the only way we can know what they preached and taught is to read the Bible or listen to it on tape.
Psalm 119 describes the words of God like this: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (119:105) This makes me feel safe in writing that Jesus wants us all to be reading from his word.
You can do it
There are many ways to read your Bible in a year. A way that is easy to remember is this: 3 chapters a day, and 5 on Sunday. You may want to read more than three some days if you hit a stretch of short chapters so you can build up comp time for the day you hit Psalm 119. I will warn you ahead of time some days it will be easy going like when you’re in Psalm 117 feeling like a speed reader. Genesis 37-50 will be a page turner. But there are some long uphill stretches too. Many people have started out gung ho ready to read through their Bible in a year only to bury their book mark in Numbers chapter 7 sometime in mid February. If you are committed and realize ahead of time that it won’t all be as fascinating as Acts chapter 2, you will make it.
“Brother Lindley, I don’t know where I’d find the time to read”. If we are sincere about our desire to know God and we give him 15 minutes a day, he will make it up to us later in the day. God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) Remember what the Lord has done for us. Every day that we live he is giving us 1,440 minutes. Would anybody out there be willing to give back 15 of those?
Until next time remember 3 chapters per day and 5 on Sunday. If you start on January 1, you will done before the year is over.
Rev. Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.