This is the most important blog I have written in many years. I pray with all my heart that this will be read and spread to ordinary Christians all over the world. I cannot come close in emphasizing how important this particular blog is.
A melancholy fact: Most Christians do not have a Bible reading plan. Most Christians do not read their Bibles regularly. Some Christians do not read their Bibles very much at all. And … some church leaders do not read their Bibles. I happen to know more than I care to reveal—how many famous Christians and leaders have not read the Bible through at all!
I am aiming this blog at ordinary Christians. My followers are not clergymen or church leaders but laymen—ordinary Christians.
Mrs. Martyn Lloyd-Jones made a gripping observation about C. S. Lewis’ book Screwtape Letters, a brilliant satire that includes among other things how the devil tempts new Christians. She lamented that one huge thing Lewis left out—that should have been put in—was how the devil wants to keep people from reading their Bibles. I do agree; it would have been so helpful had Lewis put that in.
I am convinced that the devil will do anything to keep people from reading their Bibles.
Has the devil succeeded with you? How much do you read your Bible?
This blog was inspired by a recent trauma I had in Bimini, Bahamas. Perhaps trauma is too strong a word. But what happened was this: I took a brief vacation to do some bonefishing—my only vacation for 2015. When I turned to read my Bible, lo and behold, I had not packed my Bible or diary (which includes my prayer list)! I was sobered. I never leave home without my Bible, but somehow I let that happen. The thought of not getting to read my Bible for three or four days was almost horrifying. I thought: what do people do who don’t have their Bibles?
Then I remembered something I heard only a few days ago when I was in Singapore. That there is a church where people are not encouraged to read their Bibles—at home or at church—but only wait for God to give a “revelation.” Like a vision. Or rhema word of knowledge. That’s it. The thought of reading the Bible or hearing an expository sermon does not come on to their radar screen! I was flabbergasted when I heard that.
Do listen to me, dear reader. Once we give up the conviction that the Bible is the only infallible Word of God, we open ourselves to a strange world out there that may include the Holy Spirit but also if not equally the realm of the demonic. Do not be surprised: Satan “masquerades” as an angel of light (2 Cor.11:14). The devil will work overtime to keeping Christians from reading the Bible. He would love you to close it and just wait on God.
Whereas the Bible was not given to replace the miraculous or even revelation, as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones used to say, but “to correct abuses,” too many people don’t know their Bibles well enough to know what the Word of God says. And what the abuses might be. The Bible is the Final and Ultimate Revelation of Truth; no vision, word of knowledge or insight will ever—ever—contradict what the Bible has said. The first test of any vision or prophetic word is to run it by Scripture. If it is not upheld by the infallible Word of God, reject it—no matter how much you may respect the person who gives you a word.
I am grateful in particular for two things in my life. First, my parents taught me to read my Bible daily. This is what they did: The thought of not reading at least a chapter a day in the Bible was out of the question. Second, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones—my chief mentor—introduced me to Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Bible reading plan many years ago. As a consequence, I think I can say I have read the entire Bible through some 40 times and the New Testament eighty times. A Bible Reading Plan “keeps you in the Word,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones used to say to me.
Many preachers only consult their Bibles when they need a sermon. I persuaded a very close friend—a high-profile prophetically gifted man—to start reading his Bible. Two years ago he began a plan and read the Bible through for the first time in his life! He could not thank me enough. He was (amazingly) amazed over how much it meant to him!
Why had he not been doing this sooner? You tell me.
How much do you read your Bible?
I urge you to go online and find a one-year Bible reading plan, one that will help you to read the Bible through in a year. I urge you to begin today in this plan and never, never, never, never stop it.
The very thought that the devil does not want you to do this should galvanize every true Christian to want to fall on their knees—to pray more and read the Bible more.
Here’s the thing. Read the Bible—logos, Holy Scripture—and you will be thrilled to discover how often God gives you a rhema word. A rhema word basically means the unfolding of God’s secret will, when He speaks directly to you. God does this. But I can predict: Chase after a rhema word all the time and you will probably receive nothing from God; chase after Holy Scripture and He will give you rhema words whenever you need such.
I have said little in this blog about personal prayer time. Please see my book Did You Think to Pray? In it I stress time with God. Children spell love T-I-M-E. How much time do you spend in prayer? I recommend 30 minutes a day for every layman; 60 minutes a day (minimum) for every church leader. The average church leader in Britain and the USA spends four minutes a day in quiet time. And you wonder why the church is powerless?
Please read your Bible through this year. The Bible is the Holy Spirit’s greatest product. He wrote it (2 Tim. 3:15; 2 Pet. 1:21). If you want to get on good terms with the Holy Spirit, then read His Word!
One can go through Seminary (preparing for the ministry) nowadays and never get to know their Bibles. They read about the Bible. Many young people going into the ministry have not read their Bibles through and then they read only about the Bible without the foggiest idea what the Bible says.
One very, very famous Christian said that if he had his life to live over he would spend more time reading the Bible than reading books about the Bible.
It is my heart-felt cry to God that many people will read this blog and take it seriously. You will never be sorry. Also, you will never be the same again.
R.T. Kendall was the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London, England, for 25 years. Born in Ashland, Kentucky, he was educated at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Oxford University (D.Phil.). Dr. Kendall is the author of more than 55 books.Challenge yourself to read the Bible every day. You won’t be sorry.