Bye the Book?

How important is reading the Bible to a person’s discipleship?

Recently I seem to be hitting a fair slab of people who tell me they haven’t picked up the Bible in ages. Everything evangelical in me reacts to that fairly strongly as a problem, but is it really a problem?…

It seems to be almost a trend in some ’emerging’ churches not to value personal reading of scripture highly even if we would say we see it as authoritative. In established churches I think the same goes on – people don’t read the Bible – but there they just don’t talk about it as openly…

Is it detrimental to discipleship if we don’t read the Bible? Does it matter?

I was reading Randy Frazee’s Connecting Church this afternoon and he makes the following points:

“Our contemporary culture consists of the most educated people in all of history but they are also the most biblically and spiritually illiterate.”

He quotes Gallup who says ‘we revere the Bible but don’t read it’ (so really we don’t download last word the dvdrip revere it at all!)

His point is that our faith is rooted in the Jesus of the Bible – in the truth of the scriptures, but if we don’t know what that truth is then how do we grow genuine Christian community? If we are all bringing our own intuitive preferences and prejudices to what discipleship/community looks like rather than a biblical framework then how do we move ahead?

The stuff I hear seems to say ‘I know I should read, but I am surviving without reading scripture, so maybe it doesn’t matter…’

Does it matter?

We don’t want people simply feeling guilty because they haven’t read the Bible this week… do we?…

Or maybe we do want them to feel guilt… Maybe its a guilt we need to feel if we call ourselves disciples and followers of Jesus?… False guilt is destructive, real guilt is like pain – a signal that all is not well.

What do you think?

Have we overestimated the value of Bible reading in our evangelical tradition or have we simply failed to practice it well and are looking for ways out?

How critical is personal reading of the Bible to a person’s spiritual formation?

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