Summer’s almost over so how’s that summer reading list coming?
If your experience is anything like mine, there’s the reading plan and then there’s the actual reading.
I made a comment on air the other day comparing the reading of a massive spending bill pending in the U.S. Senate to the undertaking of reading through the Bible. (The Bible is actually half as long as the proposed legislation). My point was to get us to consider what we’re reading, how much of what we’re reading really matters, and to consider the actual cumulative time we spend reading outside of the Bible.
In the feedback from that conversation, one commenter challenged my characterization and asked for some empirical evidence. In my subsequent research, I found that we don’t actually read as much as we claim to have read and, worse, we often lie about what we have read!
First, let’s deal with the lying. People lie a lot about the books they’ve read. According to BookNerdAlert.com, which keeps track of such things, people lie most about having read “The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland.” That seems like a very strange book to lie about. I scrolled down the list expecting to see that people also lie a lot about reading the Bible. To my surprise, the Bible is #26 on this list. There are 25 books people lie about having read MORE often than they lie about reading the Bible. Why might that be?
The only people who would lie about having the read the Bible are people who had the Bible on the list of books to read. People who had a plan to read the Bible then didn’t read it and then felt compelled to lie about having read it when asked.
In an article about Bible Readership in America, I learned that in 2021, only 11% of Americans say they read the Bible every day. And the majority of Americans never read it. Never.
That same article says that when surveyed in 2019, 56% of Americans “desired” to read the Bible. So if people want to read it and it’s very easy to access, why aren’t people reading it? That’s an important question for us to answer.
Since you’re reading this I assume you desire to read the Bible and maybe you even had a plan to read it this year or this summer. Well there’s no better day to start reading than today and no better time than right now! Here are a few verses from the Bible about the value of reading the Bible. Enjoy!
2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
Psalm 119:105 ESV Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Joshua 1:8 ESV This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Matthew 4:4 ESV But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Hebrews 4:12 ESV For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Romans 15:4 ESV For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
1 Timothy 4:13 ESV Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.
1 Peter 2:2 ESV Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—
Psalm 1:2 ESV But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
2 Timothy 2:15 ESV Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
Job 23:12 ESV I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.
Matthew 24:35 ESV Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Isaiah 40:8 ESV The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.