Do you bring your Bible to Church with you? As a pastor it encourages me to see faces gazed at the pages of their Scriptures as they read the text as I read it because I know the incredible value of having my personal Bible with me when I sit under preaching. I get a smile on my face when I see men of God standing in fellowship before the worship service with a cup of coffee in one hand and their Bible in the other. I am delighted to pause for a moment during the flow of a sermon when I hear pages turning as the congregation flips pages in search of our passage of study. I love it with people bring their Bible to Church with them.
One evening I was channel surfing in search of something worth watching on the TV and for some reason I stopped on a broadcast of Joel Osteen’s televised church service. Besides the sheer enormity of the size of his Church, what captured my attention was the fact that it seemed everyone in attendance had their Bible with them ready and waiting. Joel Osteen begins every sermon the same way. He raises his Bible and asks everyone in the audience to raise their Bibles in the air. He, along with the congregation, resite the following words:
“This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I have what it says I have. I can do what it says I can do. Today I will be taught the word of God. I boldly confess my mind is alert, my heart is receptive; Ill never be the same. In Jesus name, God bless you.”
I would love it if everyone brought their Bible to Church with them every Sunday. In today’s culture, if you forget your cell phone, you might go crazy! In fact I have turned around and driven back to my house to pick up my forgotten cell phone. In contrast we regularly forget our Bibles on Sunday. Perhaps we spend more time with our cell phones than we do our Bibles. Quite possibly it’s an issue of priority that causes us to be forgetful. If this is the case, then it’s an easy fix. Get your Bible off the bookshelf, dust it off, and create some time to spend with it.
But maybe for you it’s another reason that you fail to show up to Church with your Bible. I’ve heard several reasons (I consider them excuses) that people use for leaving God’s Word at home when they come to hear from God. Maybe one of these has been your reason for a while:
1. My Bible is not the same translation as the one the pastor uses in the sermon.
When I was a kid, the Church my family attended on a sporadic basis devoted themselves to the King James Version. I think this was the case for many Churches and Christians. The KJV is probably the most widely used Bible in the English language.
Fast-forward into a modern age where there are as many translations of the Bible as there are people to read them. Pastor’s have studied and decided which translation they believe is the most accurate or the most readable or the simplest to understand. When someone brings their Bible that was given to them from their grandfather forty years ago, they probably won’t be reading the same wording that the pastor is reading.
While we are reading the infallible Word of God whose meaning never changes, it can be hard to follow what’s being read from the stage. Solution:Pick up a copy of the translation the Pastor is using and start reading from it. It’s okay to put your inherited copy of the Bible on the shelf for safe keeping as long as you bring a copy you are comfortable using.
2. I can’t find the passage the pastor is preaching from.
Have you ever felt awkward flipping through the pages of your Bible while everyone else around seem to already be reading the passage? Do you frequently have to go to the table of contents before you can even begin to find the verse? Don’t worry. You’re in good company. Don’t be ashamed. The Bible is like a tool that takes some getting used to and requires a learning curve to master. It will take some practice to learn where the books of the Bible are. Over time you will get better and faster at finding passages when the pastor asks you to turn to them.
Solution:Practice. It may begin with a little trial and error. You may not find every passage the preacher reads. Don’t worry about it. You will get faster and better.
It’s okay to use tabs on the pages that mark the books of the Bible. Whatever you can do to help you get to know your Bible will help. Keep in mind, there is no substitute for spending time in your Bible to helping you know it well.
At Warrenton Christian Church, we provide notes for the message in the bulletin. This is a growing trend among Churches. If this is the case for you, take advantage of this and find the primary passages before the sermon so you are ready when it’s time to read from it.
3. My Church has a screen with the Scriptures on it.
When I preach I provide the text that I am reading on the projected screen for the audience to read. I have wrestled with this practice being a “crutch” for those who don’t bring a Bible for a long time. I have settled that I would rather everyone get to read the Word of God with me rather than leave everyone out who fails to bring their Bibles to Church. I know that nonbelievers who attend a Church will not have a Bible with them. That is why I continue to provide the Scriptures on the screen for my audience.
If this is your reason for leaving your Bible at home, then it’s time to let go of the crutches. Solution:It’s time to start walking on your own with your own personal Bible. It will take some getting used to. But it will bless you!
4. I don’t have a Bible.
Of all the reasons I’ve heard for not opening your own Bible with the preacher on Sunday morning, this is the only one worth while. But it’s not one worth keeping. Solution:If you come to my Church and you don’t own a Bible, then tell someone and you will receive one today. You can find a selection of Bibles at your local Walmart. Most Christians have a shelf containing several Bibles that they would be happy to give away. If you don’t have a Bible, then let’s get one.
Why am I so excited about everyone having a Bible with them on Sunday while I preach?
1. Because you reading the Word of God coupled with hearing the Word of God will bless you immensely! (A study done at the University of Texas found that people remember 10% of what they read; 20 % of what they hear; and 50 % of what they see and hear.)
2. Because I am human and am prone to failure. If you take everything I say without checking it against the Word of God, then you could be misled.
3. Because God’s Word is a lamp that illuminates your path (Psalm 119:105). If you want to see in this dark world, you need God’s Word!
So how about bringing your Bible with you to Church this Sunday? You’ll be glad you did. How have you been blessed by bringing your Bible to Church with you? Keep the conversation going by leaving a comment!
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