The Bible was the first book ever printed. It also holds the distinction of being the best-selling book of all time. In fact, the Bible continues to be the top seller of the year – year after year – with about 25 million copies sold annually in the United States alone.
According to a 2006 New Yorker article by Daniel Radosh, research shows that 91% of American households own at least one Bible and the average household owns four. Reflecting on these statistics, Radosh wrote, “…Bible publishers manage to sell 25 million copies a year of a book that almost everybody already has.”
I just took an inventory of all the Bibles in our house. The result? Twenty-one Bibles in nine different translations.
That inventory does not include the numerous translations I can read online. Or on my phone. Abundant audio versions allow us to listen to the Bible in our cars, at the gym, or anywhere else we can take our MP3 players. Access to God’s Word today has never been greater or more varied.
Unfortunately, the numbers of those who actually read the Bible regularly do not reflect the high level of ownership and accessibility. Pollster George Gallup, Jr. has been widely quoted as saying, “Americans revere the Bible, but, by and large, they don’t read it.” Polls show that only about a third of American Christians read the Bible on their own one or more times each week. How physically healthy would we be if we ate less than once a week?
Are you a statistic? Let’s foster our desire to be in God’s Word by considering four key truths the Bible teaches about itself:
- The Bible is literally the words of God – Although physically recorded by the hands of men, every word was inspired by the Spirit of God. God breathed out His Word through humans for humans. (2 Timothy 3:16)
- The Bible is alive and active today – God’s Word is working in our lives and the lives of those around us. It is not static or bound by time. It crosses all cultural barriers, language differences, and geographical borders. (Hebrews 4:12)
- The Bible is a mirror for our spirits – The Holy Spirit wields God’s Word like a sword to pierce our hearts and reveal our sinful thoughts, attitudes, and motivations (Hebrews 4:12-13).
- The Bible is God’s tool for refinement – He lays it out beside our lives as a measuring rod to teach, correct, and equip us in preparation for God’s purposes (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
God longs to lovingly apply His Word like a balm to our souls, to heal our hurts, comfort our grief, and fill us with His joy. Yet often we fail to give Him the opportunity. If we really believe that the Bible is the very words of God to us and for us, then why don’t we read it? Why do we fail to taste its sweetness?
We’ve allowed our fast-food, high-speed internet culture to shape even the way we approach the Bible. I confess, I still sometimes allow the busyness of life to pressure me to get “in and out” of the Bible and on to my full day ahead. Yet to be truly affected by God’s Word, to be transformed by the Holy Scriptures, we must slow down. Linger over it. Savor every word. We cannot experience its earth shaking power on the run.
In Thursday’s post we will consider 3 steps to creating a hunger for God’s Word. Between now and then, let’s reflect on our desire for Scripture. Do we hunger? Do we only take it in when it’s convenient? Do we make time in God’s Word a priority?
Let’s do some honest sharing today. Where are you? How often do you take time to sit down and linger with your Bible?
Note: This blog was adapted from my book “Fed Up with Flat Faith: 10 Attitudes and Actions to Pump Up Your Faith”