At the Cor Deo Conference on Saturday (mp3s to follow) there was a great question on Bible reading. It was addressed to Ron and he both answered at the time and has written some more thoughts here. I thought I’d add my two-pence, because, well, that’s what I do. Whether invited to or not.
The question of disciplines arises whenever you emphasize God’s approach to us in Christ, over and above our approach to Him. Well then, people ask, what place does our devotional life have?
I attempted to answer that with the preface to my own devotional, but let me put it another way.
On Saturday I spoke of the difference between a medieval system of salvation and the gospel announcement of Christ as Saviour. Bible reading happens in both paradigms. But in the system, it’s a rung on the ladder. In the announcement paradigm, it’s a revelation.
Here’s the thing – when I haven’t read my Bible for a while and/or when I’m in a bit of a spiritual slump, the devil plays a brilliant trick on me. He adopts the voice of an earnest religious devotee and says “Ah Glen, what a pity you’re so far from God. But not to worry” he says, masquerading as a spiritual adviser, “two weeks of solid Bible reading and you’ll be back on top of your game.” Ug, I think. And so I slide deeper into my spiritual sulk.
The system paradigm just doesn’t get me reading. But what if I realize the gospel? What if I tell myself, “Closeness to God does not lie on the other side of two weeks hard graft! Closeness to God is IN JESUS. And that’s where I am. Let’s pick up this gracious word and be reminded.”
If I’m believing in the system, I might open the Bible but only to receive a lecture, or a to-do list. More often I’ll leave it closed.
If I realize I’ve already arrived, you never know, I might just open the Bible, eager to receive Christ!