Linda talked in her recent preach about the need for the church to draw closer to God at this time. Some of us are in a position where we have more time on our hands and it occurs to me that this is a wonderful opportunity to get to know God’s word better!
The Bible is sharper than any double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), a lamp for our feet (Psalm 119:105), and endures for ever (Isaiah 40:8) We are encouraged to use it for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training (2 Timothy 3:16), to listen to the word of God and to obey it (Luke 11:28) and to meditate on it day and night.(Psalm 1:2).
When I visit families in Luton who I hope to support and encourage I often reach for a Bible text or story and find myself not quite remembering where it is or struggling with the details. Of course, we can also always ‘google it’ but it’s not the same as having the word at our fingertips. So, let’s use this time to get into the Bible!
If you enjoy discussing things, then I recommend doing this with friends. In addition, I, like many people, can be very lazy when it comes to reading the Bible so doing it this way has also helped to keep me accountable!
I have two plans that I am finding really helpful. One of them involves following daily online Scripture Union notes. My friend and I read the Bible passage together over WhatsApp and then use the questions and reflections as a basis for discussion and prayer.
The other one is a plan from the online Bible app. There are a number of plans available and the one we have chosen involves Francis Chan videos based on the book of James (its brilliant, short and punchy and very challenging!) We do this in our own time and are invited to record our thoughts which are sent as a message to the other person. If a day gets missed neither of us will be judgmental about it but it certainly helps me to get into a good routine.
Of course, there are many other ways to get into the word together and as individuals.
- Choosing a book to read and study with a friend or as an individual – Nehemiah, Esther, Philippians, I John for example.
- Meditating on a Psalm or an individual verse
- Memorising some verses. I once tried to learn the amazing prayer at the end of Ephesians 3 (verses 14-21)- not very successfully!
I would also encourage people to look at the Bible as a whole. There is so much value from seeing the whole story, not just focussing on the ‘nice bits’ and seeing how Jesus is reflected throughout the Old Testament as well as the New.
Today one of my dear Muslim friends sent me a ‘Surah’ from the Quran that she hoped would encourage me during my time in isolation. I responded by thanking her and sending her a couple of verses from Scripture which she emphatically agreed with! I hope and pray that these words will be light and life giving to her.