Read Part I here, if you haven't already.
If I think that scanning one or two chapters of Psalms in 5.6 minutes, bowing my head to pray, and then scampering off to my duties is sufficient, then I am in trouble. Yet how easy it is to think that I am being “Christian” by completing this task, or that I am pleasing God by doing this. Ultimately, it all comes down to Psalm 51:17:
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.”
Someone asked John Piper if it was hypocritical to force oneself to read Scripture, and he answered, “There is a difference between hypocrisy and doing what you don’t feel like doing and being honest with God and others that that is not the case….honesty is doing what you don’t feel like doing and being broken about it….there are many times when I am very eager to read the Bible and many times when my heart is going to some new computer program….when I am in that condition, I think it is right to make myself do what I ought to do…confess that that is sin…and ask God while I am reading it to give me joy in it! What I am opposed to is by discipline and will power doing what you ought to do…and thinking that—all by itself—is a virtue, without any joy. That is not a good situation to be in.”
In the book of Matthew, Jesus asked “have you not read [the Scriptures]?” six times while He was teaching—He implied that everyone should have been reading and studying Scripture. And of course, there’s Psalm 119 where all but one of the 176 verses mentions the Psalmist's love Scripture. There is no doubt that daily Bible reading should be something all Christians should do. Our motivation, however, must be because of our infantile, weak state and our dependence upon the Word of God.
A.W. Tozer said, “The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.”
In Nehemiah 9:3, the Israelites do not stop at reading Scripture:
“And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the LORD their God.”
Are you reading with no desire to be transformed? Are you perusing Scripture without recognizing its necessity? Are you not even grieved by your indifference? These are serious problems.
Open the pages of God’s Word with a broken heart, repenting of your disinterest and recognizing your depravity, and then read. Soon, you will pick up the Book written by God Himself, and devour it with a hunger and thirst for righteousness. If you will consider the verses your eyes fall upon and mull over the God’s Word in your heart and apply God’s commands today, then you have no time to lose. You and I—we must run to our Bibles. We must read—today, tomorrow, and the next. How could we survive any other way?
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,
Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Photo taken by Stuck in Customs
Watch John Piper's full response