Give Attention To Reading 2016
An Emphasis on Daily Bible Reading
at the Chipley church of Christ
“Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” (1 Timothy 4:13-16)
Why does Paul tell an experienced preacher like Timothy - a man who had traveled with him on two of his journeys and who had stood by Paul during his first imprisonment in Rome - to give attention to reading? It is because reading the Scriptures is the most fundamental way that we can draw closer to God. We can certainly progress to deeper methods of study and we can spend more time analyzing and researching passages that we are having trouble understanding, and we should do both of these things. Yet, the word of God must always be the basis of faith and practice, therefore, the reading of Scripture will always be worthy of our attention.
The Scriptures themselves emphasize reading. The law of Moses was to be read to the congregation every seven years (Deuteronomy 31:9-13). When Joshua and Israel were staking their claim to the land of Canaan, the law was copied onto stones and read before the congregation (Joshua 8:32-35). The spirit of repentance was excited by simply reading the Scriptures in the days of Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:18-21), and later in the days of Ezra (Nehemiah 8:1-5).
Reading is where understanding begins. Paul wrote to the Ephesians saying, “when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:4, emphasis mine, TDC). This not to say that we will always understand every passage the first time. Nor does it mean that every passage will be easy to understand. However, might these words not suggest to us that sometimes we do not understand because we are not giving sufficient attention to reading? Think of the significance of Jesus’ responses to the devil in the wilderness (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). Jesus answered each of the devil’s challenges saying, “It is written,” and then He would quote from the Scriptures. Jesus’ words, “It is written,” signify three things to us: 1) Jesus is saying that He is not going to do the thing in question; 2) Jesus is telling the devil why He is not going to do the thing in question - because it is contrary to the will of God; 3) Jesus is telling us how we can understand what God desires. Truly, our understanding of God and His will begins with reading, and Jesus shows us the strength that comes from reading and understanding what is written.
Since the Scriptures have been given to us by the inspiration of God (literally breathed by God; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17), it shouldn’t surprise us that they can give men understanding and strength to live our lives in faith. Here at the Chipley church of Christ, we have set a goal for ourselves to read the entire Bible together in 2016. Additionally, lessons will be presented on Sunday evenings at 5:00 PM that will be taken from the reading of the previous week. These lessons are intended to help us think more deeply about what we are reading and to keep our reading goals at the forefront of our minds. The lessons will be available here on our website. They are listed under the series title “Give Attention To Reading.” All are invited to join us in these studies. For a copy of our reading schedule, click here.
If you have any questions about our reading goals for this year, or if you have a question about the Bible, contact us here. We will do our best to give you an answer that is to true to what it written.
All quotations from the New King James Version, copyright 1994, Thomas Nelson, Inc.