As the word of God, the Bible is “able to give [us] wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 3:15 NET). As might be expected, its writers give emphasis to reading Scripture.
Paul told Timothy to “focus on reading the Scriptures to the church” (1 Tim 4:13 NLT). Paul was adamant, “I call on you solemnly in the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters” (1 Thes 5:27 NET). And those letters were to be exchanged and read among the churches (Col 4:16). John blesses those who perform the public reading of his inspired book in the churches (Rev 1:3).
We have the precious example of Jesus standing up to read in the synagogue (Luke 4:16). Against the Good News Bible rendering of synagogues as houses of prayer, they were revered places where the local copy of Scripture was kept and read on the Sabbath (Acts 13:27; 15:21). The scribal gibe, which Jesus used, was, “Have you not read?” (Matt 12:5; 19:4; 21:16, 42).
Paul urged his readers to “stand firm and hold on to the traditions that we taught you, whether by speech or by letter” (2 Thes 2:15). What the letters contained were to be obeyed (2 Thes 3:14). The sacred documents were written to produce faith that would lead to salvation (John 20:31).
How then may we encourage people to read the Bible? Here are 10 ideas.
- Distribute daily Bible reading plans to people and send them to your friends by email, on Facebook, published on blogs and websites.
- Start a group of online or local friends to read through a daily Bible reading plan together.
- Give Bibles for gifts.
- Share Scripture portions with people, leave them in doctor’s offices and other public places.
- Encourage your congregation to devote more time in its meetings to the reading of the Bible.
- Start a weekly group to spend its time reading the Bible.
- When some asks for prayer, share a passage of pre-chosen Scripture and then pray.
- Use a short verse for your email signature, and change it fairly often.
- Send out a verse by email, letter or printed out, with your extended paraphrase, along the lines of the Amplified Bible.
- Memorize a verse regularly, cite it to others and tell them why you chose it.
I invite you to add to the list (below, in the comment box). Your idea may be the one to be implemented and to bring life and salvation to a lost soul.