Time for what’s important

An update on A Year of Living Biblically

January 29, 2014 | Young Voices
Aaron Epp | Young Voices Co-editor

Reading the Bible is hard. It’s hard to sit still. It’s hard to concentrate. It’s hard to make sense of what I’m reading. And it’s hard to read stories I’ve heard seemingly a million times before—like the creation story, Adam and Eve, Noah—with fresh eyes.

It’s hard to find time in my day to read the Bible. So far it’s often ended up happening as an afterthought. I do it at the end of the day when I’d rather just go to bed, and I’ve missed a few days and had to play catch up.

As A Year of Reading Biblically (YORB) continues, my plan is to read my Bible at the same time each day—first thing in the morning. In addition to the 15 minutes (give or take) the daily readings take me, I would also like to spend more time in quiet reflection and prayer.

I am finding that, like going to the gym and eating properly, I will only be able to read through my Bible this year if I prioritize it and make a plan to get it done. It won’t just happen on its own.

When you think about adding something like that to your daily schedule, you quickly start to think about all of the ways you currently spend your time. We North Americans are excellent at filling up our schedules and leading busy lives. It’s no wonder so many of us don’t read our Bibles. “Who has the time?” we ask.

And that brings me to two things I have thought about over the past few weeks:

• First, my assumption going into YORB is that I am the only Christian in the world not reading his Bible on a regular basis. I’m not sure why I thought this might be the case—and it seems ridiculous in retrospect—but through conversations I’ve had with different people since publishing the first YORB article in December, it’s become apparent to me that I’m not the only one who rarely touches the Bible. I’m not trying to judge anyone; I’m just making an observation.

• Second, I’ve thought about a lesson I remember learning in Grade 8: We make time for the things that are important to us. That year, a music teacher at my school offered free guitar lessons during the lunch hour to any interested student. I went for a lesson, and he promised to give me another one once I practised what he had taught me. I bumped into him in the hallway a week later, and he asked if I had worked on any of the material.

“I haven’t yet,” I told him. “But I want to.”

I’ll never forget his response: “If you really wanted to, you would have done it by now.”

I wanted to take on YORB in 2014 because, although I often find my day is full, I know there are things I can take out of my schedule so that I can prioritize reading my Bible. I don’t have a wife or children, which means there are fewer demands on my schedule than there might otherwise be. I know that might not always be the case, so I’d like to make Bible reading and study a priority this year, when it’s relatively easy for me to make the time.

Still, reading the Bible is hard.

Thankfully, God can help.

I recently spoke with Carol Penner, a pastor for 12 years. When she was called into ministry, Penner prayed to God because she felt she wasn’t passionate enough about the Bible: “I said, Lord, I kind of feel called to be a minister. People are telling me to be a minister [but] you have to give me a love for the Bible because I don’t have that and I think I need that. And I did get that. I do have a passion that Scripture can be a road to God, and I see that as a gift from God.”

Asking for divine assistance during YORB—especially while reading passages that require perseverance—had never occurred to me. So as A Year of Reading Biblically continues, that’s what I am doing.

--Posted Jan. 29, 2014

See also:

A Year of Reading Biblically starts now (Dec. 16, 2013)

Daily Guide for A Year of Living Biblically: Part 1 (Dec. 16, 2013)

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