Last week, the set of 40 Bibles I had ordered came in the mail for my youth group. I am not sure I have ever been so excited about Bibles before in my life. We would finally be on the same page, literally.
After opening up the box of Bibles, we spent youth group learning how to use a Bible, as well as the importance of knowing the Bible well. In Ephesians 6, the only piece of the armor of God that is to be used offensively is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Only those who have been trained in the proper use of a sword will be effective with it.
This interaction with my youth group began my mind on a journey of the following question: Do we treat the Bible as the main source of our strength or is it just a snack to help hold us over when we can’t find strength on our own?
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go to my roommate’s home where we had a conversation with her dad about how the Bible is a living organism. We can read a passage a dozen times and learn something different from it every time.
Recently, there was a paper in my dorm hall that asked what people were struggling with. When people wrote their struggles, others responded with Bible verses to encourage those who were struggling. However, people reacted to the verses by saying, “Someone giving a verse doesn’t help,” while another agreed, “Accurate.”
Each of these events and conversations have caused me to reevaluate my own view and usage of the Bible. Why was I so excited for the new Bibles? Why don’t I treat the Bible as a love letter that my God so desperately wants me to read as if it is alive? Why do I also doubt the relevance of the Bible to what I am struggling with?
To be completely transparent, I am wrestling with these questions still and have not come to any real conclusions.
For so much of my life I knew that I should read my Bible every day and was often challenged to read 15-20 minutes every day. Yet, I get so busy with school, relationships and telling dumb jokes that I crawl in bed only to realize I didn’t open my Bible (app) once that day. Then I feel obligated to read, so I do. The problem with this is that I am not getting my daily strength and energy from Scripture.
Reading the Bible should be the meat and potatoes of my life, not the fun size Snickers bar I grab from the candy jar as I fall into bed.
I know I am not alone in this habit.
To clarify, midnight snack does not simply mean I choose to do my devotions or Bible reading at night. Rather, there is a great distinction between setting aside time to study your Bible at night and nibbling away at a Psalm in between checking Facebook and Instagram before counting sheep.
The author of Deuteronomy 8:3 says, “He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then He gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (HCSB).
This is still true today. We cannot live only on bread, but we must learn to also lean into what God has written to us in His beautiful 66-book love letter to us. If we skim the Bible or if we constrain our reading by time limits, we won’t be able to reap the nutrients that it is filled with. What if we only picked at our food or allowed only 15 minutes each day to eat? How much would that benefit us? It will not only benefit us, but we are able to enjoy it so much more when we take time to savor what we are consuming, not mindlessly inhaling it.
More than anything, this is a challenge to myself to consider the Bible as more than a snack. I invite you to join me to consider the same. Let’s eat this Thanksgiving feast daily for the rest of our lives and never get full.
For further studies, I encourage you to dive into John 6:22-59 where you will find a sermon of Jesus’ that he delivered in the synagogue of Capernaum and is about how He is the bread of life. This concept of the Bible being our daily bread is alluded to in many other places in the Bible. The Lord’s Prayer, found in Matthew 6 and again in Luke 11, petitions for God to give us our daily bread which I believe is asking God to provide for our needs. In Luke 22 we see the first Lord’s Supper where Jesus takes the bread, breaks it and calls it His body. But way before any of these verses were even thought about by anyone on earth, God literally provided daily bread (manna) for the Israelites in Exodus 16. Maybe you will fall so in love with studying the Bible that you’ll want a fourth meal!