A LifeWay research has found, among the protestant church goers, only 19% read their Bible daily; 26% read it a couple of times each week; 14% once a week; 22% once a month; and 18% rarely or never read their Bible. This is the most critical problem with the Christian Church today: Even Christians do not read their Bible! How can they do the will of God and be salt and light in the dark world without knowing the Word of God?
Paul said, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) There are three points here:
First, “All Scripture is breathed out by God”. God speaking to humans. We may know the will of God through studying the Word of God.
Secondly, the Scripture is the standard for human characters. The purpose of studying the word of God is to know God and his attributes and to cultivate our characters, not just to obtain some mental knowledge.
Thirdly, the Scripture leads people to God, and for the people of God to do good works to glorify God.
The main target of this “Agape Bible Reading” (ABR) is oversea Chinese Christian families. With parallel Chinese and English writings, ABR may lead parents and children to read and discuss the same Bible verses. This ABR has five steps:
- Reading: first read the Bible. The ABR reading load is very light. For most days, just read one chapter a day. Finishing reading the whole Bible in four years: reading the New Testament, Proverbs and the Psalms in one year, and reading the Old Testament and the gospels in three years. One short essay is to help with understanding the related Bible verses.
- Thinking: think and meditate the Bible reading and the question for the day, and try to answer the question. Quite often we read the Bible too fast to think and understand its deep meaning, especially when the content is familiar to us. We seem to understand it without much thinking, but often we miss some deep meaning. A question a day may lead us to think deeper. You do not have to check how Bible experts or theologians might answer the question. The important thing is how we as readers of the Bible answer the question. After all, most of the original audience is ordinary people like us. The question is to lead you to think more deeply than just seeking standard answers.
- Discussion: one individual’s answer may not be the best one. But you can discuss the question within your family or among friends. Along with the Bible questions, you may also discuss other life issues, which may facilitate communications among family members, between parents and children. The discussion can be carried out among friends so that you can help each other to understand the Bible better and to grow together in Christ.
- Transformation: The main purpose of the ABR is not to finish Bible reading, but to know more of God and his attributes, and to let the Holy Spirit to transform our characters and our life so that the Bible reading is not just an intellectual exercise, but a dynamic character transformation process, which is the purpose of “Agape”.
- Application: Apply the Bible teachings to our daily life so that our behaviors may glorify God. When God’s word and the Holy Spirit change us from inside, our outward behaviors will show the changes within us.
In summary, the purpose of the Bible is to transform our characters so that we, the children of God, may be able to live a life to glorify God. I hope that this ABR program may help you and your family to grow in Christ through persistent, systematic and careful Bible reading. If you want to join the ABR program, please fill out the form below: