3. Bible reading is down because people read it in isolation
Too true. When did the “personal devotions” approach to Bible reading become the only legitimate approach to Bible reading? I am very excited to embark on another season of Cor Deo next week . . . six months of studying God’s Word and pursuing God’s heart with a group of friends passionate to know God more. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Perhaps you need to pray about finding someone with whom to enjoy the Bible. Not to drown it in dull fill in the blank questions. Not to discuss it at length until one person’s theological hobby-horses send the other to sleep. But open-hearted delight-filled enjoyment of discovering God together. And that is not about hunting for applications as the first order of business, but about pursuing the God who has first loved us.
Enns finishes his article by suggesting we should “read big, read real, read together.” I agree. Might I add that we should “read big, engage historically informed imagination and chase the personal God.”
To see Enns helpful post, click here.
I can’t help but think there may be some other important factors too. Let me list a few and see if you would add any:
4. Bible reading is down because some preachers don’t motivate reading by their own lack of enthusiasm for enjoying Scripture (hard to be infectious if you don’t have the disease)
5. Bible reading is down because some preachers don’t expect people to actually read the Bible (and people will live down to that kind of expectation)
6. Bible reading is down because technology and instant communications is changing the way this generation engages with any books
7. Bible reading is down because preachers with an over-emphasis on application and utility has reduced the appetite for chasing God Himself (a self-focused engagement with Scripture will always diminish appetite for a revelation that works in the opposite direction)
What would you add? And just to complete a bit of a messy post, how about a brief counterpoint too?
I wonder if Bible reading really is down? Generally I would accept the assertion. But among a lot of people I meet, there is a great passion for Bible reading. These kinds of studies are always open to spin in respect to who is in the sample. I had a conversation recently with someone asserting that the under-30’s are leaving the evangelical church in unprecedented droves. I pointed out that I don’t know any under-30’s who love Jesus who are leaving the church, and perhaps the stats may actually be pointing to nominal church-goers? It is hard, statistically, to measure true faith.