When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem, he led an incredible building project. The walls of the city of Jerusalem, which had been destroyed years before, were restored and reconstructed, being completed in 52 days (Neh. 6:15). However, the physical rebuilding of the walls was not where Nehemiah’s burden ended. He was also concerned with the spiritual restoration of the people’s hearts.
In Nehemiah chapter 8, the Book of the Law of God was brought forth. Ezra, the aged and respected scribe, read from the book of the Law of God from morning till mid-day, perhaps about 6 hours (Neh. 8:3). Nehemiah chapter 9 says that the people again read from the Book of the Law of God for one-fourth of the day, about three hours (Neh. 9:3).
While one could highlight how they responded to the reading of the Word (which is a valuable study), it is the amount of time spent in reading the Word that is important here.
We live in a culture of “The One Minute Bible.” After all, people are so very busy, who has time to read the Bible? If they have to squeeze it in, they are thankful for the brevity of such a resource, so that they do not feel so bad skipping another day of Bible reading.
A Lifeway study from 2017 suggested that Americans “with evangelical beliefs are more likely (49 percent) to read a little bit [of the Bible] each day than those without evangelical beliefs (16 percent). Protestants (36 percent) are more likely to read every day than Catholics (17 percent).”
Barna Research also explains an interesting, but rather sad, study of Bible reading habits.
How many believers in Bible-believing and Bible-preaching churches actually read their Bibles each day? And beyond that, how much time is spent in their Bible reading?
It is true that we are busy people. But has our pursuit of the American Dream (which is not a dream truly worth pursuing) crowded out our pursuit of God’s Word? While many people wish they would read the Bible more, few actually do. Other activities like binge-watching a favorite program, scrolling mindlessly through social media, or playing video games proves to be more important. While some have plenty of time to watch live sporting events for hours at a time, they cannot imagine spending two or three hours in front of the Word of God. What a tragedy!
And we wonder why Christians are Biblically inept and Biblically illiterate. Christians do not have a Christian mind because they do not read the Christian Bible.
This is not to say that we must spend half or even a quarter of our day in reading the Bible. But have you ever taken some significant time to read large portions of the Word?
Many people participate in “computer devotions” where they will read something from a shallow devotional book, and post something on social media in order to communicate their supposed spirituality. When in reality, they are not being exposed to the teaching of the Word of God, not cultivating a spiritual mind, and not honoring the Lord through the life-changing study of His Word.
In conjunction with this, many do not attend and are not active in their local church. Let it be understood that the New Testament does not understand what a Christian apart from a local church is, other than being disobedient and perhaps even unregenerate. There is no spiritual health for a professing Christian apart from the Word of God and the local church.
Christian, have you spent time today with an open Bible and an open heart? Are you so busy with the cares of the world that you cannot spend time allowing God to care for your soul? Spend some good time with the Word of God. You need God’s Word more than the news, more than social media, and more than physical food itself.
O for more Christians who would immerse themselves in the Word of God, even in large portions, and allow the Word of God to permeate their beings and change their lifestyles, all for the glory of God.