Why do we need to read the Bible every single day?
Life is full of challenges. Some are big, like mastering the software your employer requires you to use for your daily work. Others are simple, like brushing your teeth. Yet when you write down a list of all the things you need to do every day, simply doing all of them may be the biggest challenge of all.
Since our lives are so full, why add anything? And if we add anything, why do we need to add the task of reading the Bible every day? Isn’t it good enough to just say a verse or pray “Help me!” when we feel the need of God? Couldn’t we just pray when we are afraid? People in ancient times were not nearly as busy as we are. We really do not have time to sit down and read a long passage in the Bible every day.
There is no question that our lives are full. And it is also true that some very fine Christians whose lives we study for inspiration did not spend a lot of time reading the Bible on busy days. There is a broad spectrum of practice in that regard. Two famous and faithful Christians exemplify very different approaches to daily Bible reading and prayer.
Martin Luther, famous for his effort to reform the Roman Catholic Church, originally became a Franciscan monk and studied for the priesthood out of fear, because he thought he had almost died in a thunderstorm. The preparation for the priesthood did not include much Bible reading, but after Luther began teaching, he was advised to read the New Testament. That reading changed him forever. Everything he did thereafter was rooted in his conviction that he and everyone in the Church needed to live according to the teachings of Jesus as recorded in the Bible. He is famous for spending hours in prayer and Bible study to prepare for a full day of meetings and teaching.
Dr. Bill Wallace, surgeon and medical missionary to China, is famous for his faith as well. He was running a hospital in China during the years when patriots in China were fighting over whether democracy or Communism would govern the nation. Dr. Wallace ran his hospital as a service to people without regard to their political stance. As the location of the hospital increasingly became a war zone, his days became more frantic and more dangerous. Throughout Dr. Wallace’s life he nourished his faith in fifteen minute bites. Those who knew him best knew that Bill Wallace believed that God wanted him to use his surgical skills for the blessing of people in the name of Jesus, and he made himself available for that purpose as much as possible. The story of his life would remind you of the stories about Jesus where the gospel writers said that Jesus was besieged by people so constantly that he had no time even to eat. Dr. Wallace was consistent in starting the day with his fifteen minute quiet time, but his biography records simply that his time was too full for lengthy daily Bible study.
Hour or minutes for reading the Bible? The difference is not as important as the common thread—both men felt the need for the spiritual food of the Bible. Both lives show us what a person devoted to Christ can be. We all need to feed our spirits on the guidance God gives us in the Bible. Do you have time set aside for daily Bible reading? If not, try nailing down just five minutes for that purpose. Five uninterrupted minutes to pay attention to what God wants to say to you. Commit to make it your habit. Even if you never increase the time allotted, your days will be different if they start this way.