Do you take the time to read your Bible at home? By yourself, and especially with the rest of your household (spouse, children, if the Lord has granted them to you)? If this is an area in need of improvement, please heed my advice: now is the time to start. But don’t overdo it! I think learning the habit of daily bible reading is a lot like learning the habit of regular exercise. We tend to overdo it, tire out, and then quit.
Here’s my advice: start in a simple way. We provide the Blue Sheet every week to give you a simple start at daily bible reading. We email it out, too; if you make sure the church office has your email address, you’ll get next week’s Blue Sheet via email on the Friday or Saturday before. Or, another option, is to grab a Portals of Prayer from the narthex counter and use that for each day’s bible reading and a short devotion. But please don’t do it alone; do it with your whole household.
If you’re already reading the Bible regularly or daily, then I think it’s time to supplement that Bible reading with some regular or daily reading from the Lutheran Confessions. Why? Because the Lutheran Confessions distill the doctrine (doctrine just means “teaching”) of the Scriptures down to the main points. They help us to understand what God is teaching us in the Scriptures. In a way, by reading the Lutheran Confessions we learn better how to read and understand the Scriptures.
Here’s a quote from Luther, from the Lutheran Confessions, about why it’s important to be always listening to God’s Word, both from your pastor in the prayer offices or Divine Service, as well as in your reading:
Let me tell you this, even though you know God’s Word perfectly and are already a master in all things: you are daily in the devil’s kingdom. He ceases neither day nor night to sneak up on you and to kindle in your heart unbelief and wicked thoughts against these three commandments and all the commandments. Therefore, you must always have God’s Word in your heart, upon your lips, and in your ears. But where the heart is idle and the Word does not make a sound, the devil breaks in and has done the damage before we are aware. On the other hand, the Word is so effective that whenever it is seriously contemplated, heard, and used, it is bound never to be without fruit. It always awakens new understanding, pleasure, and devoutness and produces a pure heart and pure thoughts. For these words are not lazy or dead, but are creative, living words. And even though no other interest or necessity moves us, this truth ought to urge everyone to the Word, because thereby the devil is put to flight and driven away. (Large Catechism, I, 100-102)
I want to help you in this. I’ll be putting part of the Augsburg Confession in the newsletter each month. In this way we’ll all read a bit of solid theology each month. And I desire for each household of the congregation to have at least one good Bible, if not one for each member of the family. If you need a good Bible for your household or for you personally, please see me and I’ll give you one. These are the words of eternal life, after all.
Peace in Christ,