After having spent the first 2 days on prayer, post #3 in our Back to Basics series is regarding engagement with God’s Word.
Look at any stats available today and you’ll see that the average man, Christian or not, rarely reads a book. Certainly there are the extremes—guys who devour many in a month, then guys who haven’t read a book since English class in high school.
There are a multitude of factors creating this reading drought: extreme busyness, ingrained habits, preferring TV, lack of focus and attention span, and, of course, just not seeing the point in gaining knowledge any longer. And the younger the man today, the less he tends to read. On any given night, there are likely more men of all ages playing video games than reading—anything.
So these trends among men in today’s culture lend itself to a term many Christian leaders now use: “Biblical Illiteracy.” Just like we said in the topic of prayer, men following Christ would wholeheartedly agree that the Bible is God’s Word and requires our interaction for living the Christ life. Yet, for thousands upon thousands, the profession of the belief doesn’t engage the action of the heart.
Steve Farrar, legendary men’s author and communicator, shares some incredible insight likening Biblical illiteracy to eating disorders in his book, Point Man. Steve says Biblical anorexia is when we avoid “food”—the Word of God, while Biblical bulimia is taking in “food,” but then “throwing it up” by not heeding or applying it to life. Intentional ignorance or passivity without obedience.
Negative info? Yes. But we just have to be real that this is where we are today with the majority inside the life of the church. Now, let’s look at some practical solutions if you realize you need to engage or re-engage with God’s Word.
—Find a fresh, new version that is different and speaks to you where you are now. I’ve had seasons of my life where one version really connected to my heart for a time, but then as I grew, would switch and a new version would help me re-engage. Use Biblegateway.com and select different versions to read. Change is good. Keep it fresh.
—Especially if you drive a lot or exercise regularly, use a Bible app that reads to you or download mp3s to listen to on your phone or other device. Amazon has several versions for super cheap. Listen to Scripture in place of music or talk radio.
—Read the Word out loud or with someone else. Reading aloud, or to someone, can help focus and improve comprehension by engaging the senses deeper and keeping the mind from wandering.
—Remember—the Bible is not on the optional read list, but is actually the textbook for the Christian life. Answers to many of our current issues, problems, and dilemmas of tomorrow might be found inside Scripture today.
In closing, consider these passages…
The same thing is true of the words I speak. They will not return to me empty. They make the things happen that I want to happen, and they succeed in doing what I send them to do. —Isaiah 55:11 NCV
The whole Biblewas given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone. —2 Timothy 3:16-17 TLB
These teachings are not empty words; they are your very life. —Deuteronomy 42:47a GNT