Regular Doses of Scripture Change Lives

Recently, our church’s young adults spent their Winter Retreat focusing on reading the Bible together aloud. No guest speaker, no DVD teaching. They simply gathered and read as much of the New Testament as possible over the weekend. They started in Matthew and got through I Corinthians, completing 149 chapters. Only 111 to go! Good for them, because a consistent intake of Scripture makes a huge difference in our lives.

The Power of Four

According to the Center for Bible Engagement, the life of someone who engages with Scripture four or more times a week looks radically different from the life of someone who doesn’t. 

The Center compiled research after surveying over 400,000 people from all walks of life, ranging in age from 8 to 80, from 24 countries, and more than 75 denominations. The survey revealed that the lives of believers who do not engage the Bible statistically scored the same as non-believers. 

The research showed that someone who reads the Bible four or more times a week is:

59% less likely to view pornography
30% less likely to struggle with loneliness
74% less likely to gamble
407% more likely to memorize Scripture
228% more likely to share their faith with others
231% more likely to disciple others

The Center calls regular Bible interaction, “The Power of Four.” To view the survey, go to 

 Needed Nourishment

God’s Word makes a powerful difference, but only if we open it, read it, and apply it to our lives. It’s vital spiritual nourishment that propels spiritual growth. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good (1 Peter 2:2-3, ESV).

Spiritual transformation doesn’t happen automatically, even if you attend a spiritually healthy church. As Jerry Bridges said, “There is absolutely no shortcut to holiness that bypasses or gives little priority to a consistent intake of the Bible” (Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness). 

Increased Engagement

Thankfully, in some circles, Bible engagement is on the rise. The YouVersion family of Bible apps saw a dramatic increase of installs and usage in 2023. Specifically, according to YouVersion CEO Bobby Gruenewald, installs increased by more than 100 million devices while the previous record was 76 million installs. Compared to 2022, daily Bible use grew by 20%, representing about 12 million people using the Bible app each day. 

The number one most searched, highlighted, and shared verse in 2023 was Isaiah 41:10, fear not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Gruenwald goes on to say, “From a global perspective, we’ve all been through a lot in the last few years, so it’s no surprise that people continue to feel drawn to the hope and peace promised in Isaiah 41:10. Even though there’s a lot of fear and anxiety around the world, it’s encouraging to see people continue to cling to God and His Word in their greatest moments of need.”

I know, firsthand, the comforting power of this verse as I clung to God’s promises found there while I underwent  monthly cancer treatments - especially as I patiently waited to be called back. When we consistently engage the Bible, we not only mature spiritually, but we also find words of hope, comfort, and encouragement.  

Which verses made the top ten Scriptures viewed, highlighted, and shared in 2023? Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28; Matthew 6:33; Joshua 1:9; Philippians 4:8; I Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:13; 2 Timothy 1:7; John 3:16.

A Challenge - 5x a Week

I challenge you to love the Scriptures enough to make time to read them at least five days a week. 

Set aside a specific time that works for you. Mornings are best for me because I want whatever God says in my reading to set the tone for my day. Let Bible reading become as much a personal habit as brushing your teeth first thing in the morning. Can you imagine walking around all day with unbrushed teeth and morning breath?

Find a place that can be deemed your place for a quiet time with God. Just you, your Bible, and God. Start reading. I recommend starting in Mark’s gospel along with a Proverb and a Psalm daily. Then expand into Genesis and other Old Testament books. Plenty of Bible reading plans can be viewed on the internet. Find one that gives variety and stick with it.

Next, incorporate the spiritual discipline of memorization. Hiding God’s Word in our hearts comes in handy when temptation and hard times arise. I suggest beginning with the top ten verses listed above. 

God’s Word will change your life. Why not start with a dose today?

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