Dine, Don’t Snack, on Scripture ~ Welcome to the Bible: Chapters and Verses Bring Convenience and Challenges ~ Part 3
Does this ever happen to you?
Life gets busy. Too busy to do much more than the most urgent, like drink coffee so you can do everything else.
Reading the Bible falls off your plan for the day.
And the next day.
And the next.
You move through the week and lament that you haven’t had time to read your Bible. But you don’t do anything about it.
It used to happen to me a lot.
Then a well-meaning friend encouraged me to simply read a verse or two each day saying, “It’s better than nothing.”
Instead of sitting down for an extended time of reading a few days a week, I faithfully read a verse or two every day.
It was better than nothing.
Or so I thought.
Over time I noticed my relationship with God growing more and more shallow.
I didn’t know why. I missed the connection.
The Enemy of Best
It seems logical that a verse or two is better than nothing. But sometimes better is the enemy of best.
Imagine a pediatrician saying to the mother of a toddler, “You’re busy. It’s ok if you just feed your child a couple of bites of food a day. It’s better than nothing.”
Technically, the doctor would have a point. Two bites are better than no bites. But it’s not best.
Making time to feed children just enough food so they don’t starve to death is better than not making time to feed them at all. But this better situation is no friend of the child’s best.
Taking time out of a busy schedule to feed children well every day so they can grow strong and healthy is always best.
Surely every pediatrician would agree.
Chapters and Verses Entice Snacking
Because the Bible has been divided into chapters and verses, it’s easy for us to stop reading at the end of a verse.
The man-made divisions hint at a break in thought or action and make it easier to stop reading, but this isn’t the best way to read.
We don’t need to go back and remove the chapters and verses from our Bibles. We just need to resist the temptation to snack on Scripture rather than dine.
Should We Abandon All Snacking?
Snacking has its place – both in food and in verses.
Every day I read, pin, like, and heart memes of Bible verses on Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram.
And some days there really is no time for me to read more than a Bible verse meme. Let’s don’t abandon all spiritual snacking.
And certainly not edible snacks. I count the minutes until my 4:00 pm coffee and snack time. Sometimes I have it at 3:00 pm.
Hot chocolate chip cookies or fresh blueberries with a mug of coffee = Happiness.
But if the only food I ate every day was my 4:00 pm snack, my health would fail no matter how healthy my snacks are.
When scriptural snacks were my only source of spiritual nutrition, my relationship with God grew small. My faith, wimpy.
But once I began reading the Bible in all-you-can-eat buffet portions (and in context), my understanding of God and His character expanded. My walk with Him took off.
My love for and faith in God hasn’t starved since. And they’re still growing as I keep dining on large servings of Scripture rather than snacking.
BTW, there’s no magic formula. No one can tell you how many verses are enough — except God. Let Him lead your time in His Word.
Is It Ever Good To Study Just a Verse or Two?
It’s a great habit to dig deep into individual verses. To get to the marrow of its meaning.
I’m currently working my way through Romans. One verse at a time.
It’s taking a long while, but I want (need) to understand it better. So I focus each day on a few passages while remembering that reading verses in isolation rather than in context can lead to misunderstanding God’s message.
As I study Romans verse by verse, I also read a chapter or two to let the bigger picture of Romans soak into my mind. And I read other books of the Bible as well.
We shouldn’t become legalistic about our daily reading. It’s not a measure of our spiritual worth. We don’t win points with God when we read. Nor does He hand down demerits when we miss.
No condemnation. None.
But God’s Word blesses us – changes us – when we read it.
You may have to force yourself to read it at first. But eventually, if you read the Bible in order to know the God of the Word, you’ll begin to long for the Word of the God.
Time in God’s Word will become as enticing as that morning cup of liquid heaven. (That’s coffee for me. I don’t know what you strange non-coffee drinkers enjoy.)
No Time? Pray and Make Time
Life is busy. It’s not likely to slow down.
Deal with it. (Was that too harsh? Sorry.)
Pray and ask God. He’ll make a way for you. He may wake you early to read. Or He may open up time for you to read during the day or evening.
We should all ask God to make us aware of the time we already have that we may be misspending watching TV, piddling on Social media, or catching a little extra shut-eye.
Trust God to enable you to accomplish all you need to do each day. Then walk by faith and make time for reading your Bible – even if you don’t think you have time.
God will provide all you need. But you have to trust Him by sitting down with your Bible.
Don’t wait for Him to sit you down. You’ll probably enjoy it more if you voluntarily sit down rather than having God sit you down.
My mom once told me I was too busy. “You need to drop some of your activities,” she said. I told her it was impossible. A couple of months later I had to have surgery. Somehow everything got done without me. She smirked, and I dropped some of my activities. I got sat down, and I listened.
Just as you’d make time to serve a child three full meals a day, make time every day to serve yourself one full meal of spiritual nourishment from God’s Word.
The Word of God Endures Forever
Chapter and verse divisions may not last, but the Word of our God will stand forever.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
~ Isaiah 40:8 ESV