As Christians, God doesn’t ask us to do much:
- Believe that he created the heavens and the earth
- Believe that he sent his one and only Son, Jesus Christ to die for our sins
- Believe that Jesus rose from the dead on the third, in accordance with the scriptures
- Talk to him and get to know his word
The first three of these things are effectively taken care of before you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. The fourth item actually takes a little bit of our time and effort. The statistics are quite sad when it comes to this, according to this Christianity Today article a LifeWay study stated that 45 percent of those who regularly attend church read the Bible more than once a week. Over 40 percent of the people attending read their Bible occasionally, maybe once or twice a month. Almost 1 in 5 churchgoers say they never read the Bible—essentially the same number who read it every day. This of course effects the understanding that people have of the Bible. In another LifeWay study, we are told that Americans love God and the Bible but are fuzzy on the details which includes but is not limited to 52% of Americans believing that their good deeds have something to do with them getting into heaven.
This is not good. God asks us to pray and to read the Bible, that is it. Yet we take so little time that according to the same study 46% of “God fearing Americans” disagree with the statement: Only trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior will bring them God’s free gift of eternal life. This is sincerely pathetic. We as Christians need to take 15-30 minutes out of everyday to read the Bible and pray. Everyone can find this time, they just have to get their priorities in order. Children may make this harder, but they also make this more important. Our children learn from our habits as adults. Read the Bible to them, teach them, ask them questions. They will love interacting with you.
Not only will your children benefit greatly from this reading of the Bible, but you will too. According to this study, if you read or listen to the Bible at least 4 times a week there are behavioral differences than if you read or listen less than that. This to me is crazy, and if you continue reading the study the positive benefits are insanely powerful and beneficial. Setting aside this time will significantly lower the individuals odds of engaging in damaging behavior such as getting drunk, have sex outside of marriage, pornography, and gambling. I guarantee that most or all of Americans would prefer that their children stay away from all of these activities. Well we have found a way to accomplish that goal, read the Bible most days of the week.
With this extra Biblical knowledge that you have you can reach out to non-believers more effectively and therefore will be more likely to reach out to non-believers. You are also more likely to mentor or disciple more immature Christians which will of course grow the kingdom of God. These are all in line with what God wants us to do (he writes about it in the Bible).
There are two other fairly important points to take away from this study. From Figure 3 of the study, the behavioral differences only occur when the individual reads the Bible, not when they go to Church or they pray. This is an interesting statistical tidbit for everyone to know, diving into God’s word is the most important aspect of changing your behavior. The other point that Christians need to account for is that teenagers and adults are all self aware enough to admit that they don’t make the time to read the Bible. Adults are obviously a little more on their own with this task, but those with children should realize that starting this habit when your kids are young will help them through their teen years.
If you are confused about how to start, just start small. Take 10 minutes out of your day when you get up before you check your email or Facebook. If you have children in the house, take that time right before dinner so that all of your kids are with you. If you think this is to hard just remember that taking this time will allow your family to spend more time together and it will greatly benefit you and the rest of your family. If you start with ten minutes and really dive into the word of God, chances are that you will enjoy yourself and possibly extend this time maybe even up to 30 minutes. But the idea here is to start small so that you can make progress out of the gate.