If you missed the Introduction, you can read it here.
The First “Secret” to Understanding The Bible
A 2012 LifeWay survey of more than 2,900 Protestants who regularly attend church reveals that only 19% actually read The Bible every day. And a full 18% rarely or never do!
How can this be? And how much less does the general public read The Bible? How can anyone understand The Bible if it isn’t read?
So the first “secret” to understanding The Bible is really no secret at all, (though it may as well be): READ The Bible.
It’s really that simple.
Too simple? We have to start somewhere. It is a chicken and the egg scenario. We don’t read The Bible cuz we don’t understand it. Yet, we can’t understand The Bible cuz we don’t read it.
So, if you want to understand The Bible, read it.
I just don’t have time to read The Bible
We live in a hectic, fast-paced world: Jobs, education, bills and kids, among other things, can eat up the bulk of our time and create stress. Many of these time-consumers are important, if not urgent. They must be done. We are frequently left exhausted. What little time we have left is often spent in front of the TV, passively soaking up our favorite programming.
Since you are reading this blog, you must have at least some interest in The Bible. How strong is that interest? The amount of time one is willing to invest into any endeavor is a clear indication. Is your interest in The Bible worth 15 minutes a day? Ten minutes? Five minutes? A minute? Even if the time you devote to The Bible is just a single minute a day, you will find value in it. And you may find yourself unable to put it down before long.
Early last summer I learned that the foundation (or lack thereof) under our house was caving in. The wood posts were rotting, infested with insects and tilting badly. Some of the floor joists had cracked. The entire house had shifted four inches and threatened to collapse to the ground. When Mare would run the washer, the entire house would shake. It was pretty scary. And would get more so.
Since I’d never done foundation work before and felt overwhelmed by the project, I called a contractor. After he came out to review the crawlspace, he gave me an estimate of over $30,000. On top of that, I wasn’t convinced that he would build a truly sound foundation for that price. As I didn’t have 30K or more to spend, I wasn’t going to be able to buy my way outta this predicament. Circumstances forced me to face the daunting project.
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. Matthew 7:24-25
If only the builders of my house were privy to the literal aspect of this solid piece of wisdom. It would only have taken maybe an extra week and a few more dollars to do it right. But doing it after the fact was going to take months to accomplish and more mulla.
But where to begin? I thought about it for a few days (my way of procrastinating). The project only became more intimidating. Every time I’d consider all that needed to be done, how to do it, the danger involved and how much it would cost, I would just get even more unsettled. Life can be that way. But maybe it’s a necessary part of the process. I came to realize I couldn’t fix the foundation – at least not by fiat, a snap of a finger. What could I do?
I began to remove the skirting. A simple task. Performing it didn’t threaten to bring the house down. It only took a few hours. That first step gave me the inertia I needed to finally complete a summer-long project. Though removing the skirting revealed even more scary problems, it also allowed me to see with what I was working and the next step: brace the foundation to keep it from getting worse or falling on my head. Additional tasks would include: removing tons of dirt, rerouting the septic line, pouring pads & footers, putting in temporary block pillars before removing old rotten wood, installing joist scissors, leveling the house, scabbing joists, building block pillars & perimeter walls, landscaping and, finally, trim and paint.
With the help of Mare and neighbors, we now have a house with a firm foundation. Except for a major earthquake, our home should now stand solid.
Yes, The Bible can be daunting. But if we want to understand it, we must read it. Just take that first step, even if it’s only a minute a day, and you can have a sound foundation for your life.
…the race is not to the swift… Ecclesiastes 9:11 (KJV)