Sermonette: Nov. 15, 2021
November 15, 2021
Grace and Peace to you from God our Father. Amen.
The Bible. I'm sure the vast majority of homes in the area have at least one. That's good. Unfortunately, in too many homes, we're not quite sure where it is. If asked, is your answer some place in the bookcase, or maybe in a drawer somewhere? Here is another question. Did you receive one as a gift many years ago, and it still has that “new car” smell and not even the title page has been read? I wish there weren't so many people who would agree with those answers. However, the good news is that it is never too late to start reading scripture. Never! More good news is that you don't have to have a defined method for doing so. A gospel, I'd recommend Mark, is a good place to start. It is the shortest of the gospels and gives a good overview of Jesus' ministry. If you would rather start with shorter books, I suggest some of Paul's letters to the various churches. How about books you can read in their entirety in a matter of just a few minutes? The letters of Peter and John fit the bill quite nicely. You will find them towards the end of the New Testament. If you would rather, just grab your bible, open it up to any place, and read a page or two. If you happened to hit upon a difficult bit of scripture, or maybe one you find boring, don't close it and put it away, just try reading a different part. Keep trying until you find one more suitable to you.
There are a plethora of bible classes, bible study or reading plans available. If you use Google or Bing and do a search on “bible” or “bible study,” you will find thousands of sites. Most of these will have structured plans for reading the bible. Some will be free, some are for purchase. You will find a section on religion in many bookstores such as Borders, or Barnes and Noble. They will include everything from general overviews of the bible or in-depth studies of just one book. There are bibles printed especially for daily readings, with selected scripture for each calendar day. I have seen bibles with a one-year plan up to a three-year plan. You will also be able to find bible stories in books written specifically for preschoolers, children in grade school, and all the way up to teens and young adults. There are bibles written in comic book form for the younger readers. Many churches give bibles to children at various ages. I know some that give bibles to third graders, while some churches give bibles to confirmation students. With all this available, I can't help but wonder why so few people, particularly young people, don't read their bibles.
I would suggest that if, and hopefully when, you decide on a bible reading or study program, that you set up a specific time of day. It will help you to stay the course. Perhaps the last five minutes of the day before you go to bed, or if you watch television in the evenings, maybe take five minutes or so before you turn the TV on. Whichever part of the day works best for you, it won't be that hard to find a quiet time each day to spend a few minutes with your bible. You might say you are too busy, but believe me, there is a five minute period available. You just have to make it happen. Miss a day? No problem, just don't stop reading. Resume reading the next day. Some of you may prefer to read or study on your own. I read my bible every day on my own, but I really enjoy bible study in a group setting. A group of area pastors meet weekly to study text from the bible. I truly enjoy that. It is good to get others' opinions and to share yours. Maybe a group of you get together every day for coffee and a cookie or doughnut. How about each week use one of these daily coffee gatherings for a weekly bible study day. Here is another great thing. If you come across something that is hard to understand, I guarantee you that your pastor or priest would love for you to bring your questions to him or her.
I hope this message will help you to begin, return to, or to continue reading your bible. I do have one bit of advice for you. If you decide to make reading your bible a daily occurrence, I have a suggestion. Do not start with Genesis chapter one, verse one, and try to work your way to the last verse in Revelation. It is a good possibility that you will cruise through Genesis and Exodus, but will get bogged down when you hit Leviticus, and will eventually quit altogether. Pick and choose what books you read and over time, you will end up reading the whole bible. It may take a year or more but you can do it. What's more, if you particularly enjoyed one book, read it several times. You don't have to read the whole bible before you can go back and read a favorite part. I've mentioned a few books that will give you a good start. To be honest, Isaiah and some others of the Old Testament prophets, as well as Revelation in the New Testament, can be a hard read. It might be a good idea to read other books first. The most important thing is to start. Start now. If you get bogged down, nothing wrong with taking a short break. Just don't stop altogether. Don't let that bible gather dust sitting on a bookshelf. Don't have one? I'll bet your pastor or your priest would be more than happy to find one for you.
Blessings to you all.