I suppose that just about everyone reading this ministry blog has a Bible, aka The Manual. If you are reading this and you don’t have one, please find one. You can always go online to Bible study sites, but it is best if you have one in your hand, paper and binding, so that you hold it. It is to be loved and cherished, and you can’ t do that with an I-pad. Also, I challenge everyone to not take what I say as true, but to look it up in the Manual and verify for yourself the veracity of what I say. I try to discipline myself to never teach about what is in the Bible that you can’t go in there and find for yourself, and I pray that God leads my teachings to reflect only what is right in His eyes. Besides that, you need to develop the habit of checking what you are told.
Someone once told me never believe what you hear, and I took it with a grain of salt.
So, nu? Where’s your Bible? Is it on a shelf? Is it in a place of honor (collecting dust)? Wanna know where mine is?
It’s in my bathroom. That’s right- right there on top of the toilet covering the Readers Digest from April of 1995.
Oy! How disrespectful! How could you do that to the Word of God?
Before I answer that, let me ask you, “Is it really disrespectful to keep my Bible in the bathroom?” I am sure some of you will say yes, and some will say no, and some just won’t know. That’s how it is with questions.
As you are thinking about your answer, let me submit what I think is the most disrespectful way to keep your Bible: to keep it closed. Whether on a shelf, prominently displayed in a case, or under the table leg to keep the table steady, in my opinion not reading your Bible is disrespectful to the Word of God. He gave us His word so we would know how to worship, how to live, and (consequently) how to be saved from ourselves. He tells us how we got here, where we are going, and about Messiah, who will lead us to Him, forever. It’s all there, but it’s useless if you don’t read it.
“Oh, but I go to church every Sunday”, or “I attend synagogue every Shabbat. When I’m there they tell me what it says.” Lazybones! That’s not going to float your Salvation, Brothers and Sisters. You need to read it, for yourself. You need to let the Ruach guide you. There are three levels of understanding when reading the Bible: the P’Shat (written word- that’s all you get when you listen to someone else read the Bible), the Drash (this is like reading between the lines- it is a hidden message that the Ruach makes clear to you), and the Sud ( this is a deeply spiritual, almost mystical understanding that comes from Ruach-led reading and a deep knowledge of the Word).
I don’t believe you can really get the deepest and most fulfilling understanding of what God wants to tell you if you don’t hold the book in your hands and read it.
“But I am sooooooo busy! I have my job, I work out, and then the kids take up all my free time. I really want to read the Bible every day, that’s my intention, but I just don’t get to it.”
Every hear this old adage: The road to hell is paved with good intentions?
Look, I had kids, I worked a job with a 2-hour commute (one-way) and I know what “too pooped to poop” means. So, take the Bible to work and read it on the train or bus. If you drive, take it to work and read it during your break or lunch.
Or, do what I do- leave it in the bathroom. The Bathroom! Ah, yes! The one and only place where everybody can be guaranteed about 10 minutes of peace and quiet every day, alone with their thoughts. That’s why I keep my Bible in the bathroom. I read at least one chapter every time I…, well, let’s just say I read a chapter daily.
Is this a disrespectful place ? I dunno! Maybe it is, but it is not disrespectful that I read His word every day. And it is not disrespectful that I come to Him as humbled as can be (what’s more humble than on a toilet seat?) I can even say every day I come before His throne while on my throne.
Ouch!! Okay, maybe that was a little too far. 🙂
Seriously, though, I do not believe it disrespectful, otherwise I certainly wouldn’t do it. And because of where I keep my Bible, I easily get to read a chapter or two every day. I like to go in order, from the beginning of Genesis straight through to the end of Revelations. When I reach the end, I do what every Jewish person does on Simchat Torah, which is to take great joy in turning back the Torah (in my case, I go to the front of the book) and starting all over again. I don’t like the idea of these daily devotionals that skip around and jump all over the book. I know that it is OK to do so, in that what I read in one place will confirm what I read in other places (this is known as hermeneutics), but the book has a rhythm, a pace, and a hierarchy. How can I really feel the pain of watching Judea fall deeper and deeper into sin as we approach the end of 2 Kings if I am in 2 Kings, then John I, then Leviticus, then Mark, then…then…then…? I want to feel the joy as God reveals Himself and I want to feel the pain as we fall further and further from His grace through our own sin. I don’t want to just have someone tell me what it says, I want to live it. I want to experience the full emotions of the history of my salvation. I can only get that from reading it and letting the Ruach Ha Kodesh lead my understanding. After more than 17 years of being saved and having read the Bible cover to cover dozens of times, I still get chills and cry at certain parts. And I thank God that I do: I don’t ever want to become inured to His word.
I’ll ask again: where’s your Bible? If you aren’t reading a chapter every day, and it’s not in the bathroom, maybe you should put it there?