Read Scripture Blog: Week 2

“Teamwork makes the dream work.” My old youth pastor Chris used to say that all the time, mostly as an addition to his arsenal of silly quips he could yell at kids as he inflicted them with strange games. Nevertheless, there‘s truth in that silly quippy saying that we can hold onto as we read through the Bible.

 

The Bible wasn’t meant to be read individually. Not really. As we read through this year, we will see this (and I encourage you to seek out and note those times when this theme comes up), but Scripture seems to always have been intended to be read communally. From the folly of Adam showing us the need for properly relaying the Word of God to one another (Genesis 3), to Moses encouraging parents to teach their children the Law daily (Deuteronomy 6), to the reading of the Scriptures in Israel as a renewal and repentance (II Chronicles 34 & Nehemiah 8-9), to the scene of Jesus reading Isaiah in the synagogue (Luke 4) – the Word of God has power when it is read aloud, talked about, meditated on, and applied in community. Even the Epistles were meant to be read during the church gatherings.
 
Community is so important to reading the Scriptures because growth and repentance is infinitely more powerful in community. The early Church changed the world because it was a community that was held accountable to one another and acted with unity and boldness according to the Word of God given to them through Jesus. It’s growth, spiritually and numerically, was facilitated by men of God who, while being held accountable to one another, held the local churches accountable to these truths.
 
Think about the time in your spiritual life where you were most certain that you failed to do what God wanted you to do. Were you alone when you failed? Did it come from a lack of accountability to the Word that God gave you? Did you share that failure with others or did you keep it to yourself? I ask, because in my life, the failings that I see most clearly have come when I chose to violate the Word of God individually, away from community, and without being held accountable for my words and actions. This idea of accountability is so important, but not just to combat sin; it’s vital to spiritual growth as well!
 
So, this week, I encourage you to talk about what you are reading with people as often as you can! Talk to your spouse about it, talk to your kids about it, talk to your grandkids about it, talk to your friends about it, talk to your church about it. Be publicly accountable to what you are reading and how you are meditating on it and applying it. Be transparent about your difficulties with your reading and honest about your selfishness that gets in the way.
 
The easiest way to get off track and abandon your reading this year is by not talking. Trust me, I just went through this three weeks ago! I chose my own priorities over God’s each day for 6 days, until I had 26 chapters in II Chronicles to catch up on! It wasn’t until my wife and I made an intentional effort to read through those chapters together that I got back on track. The weight of reading the Scriptures daily is so much heavier when carried alone. Lighten the load, starting this week, by reading it in community with at least one other person. You’re never alone unless you choose to be.