Martin Luther has been quoted (or probably misquoted) as saying, “I’ve read the Bible once. I don’t need to read it again.” The life of Luther disavows this ascertion because it was his study of the scriptures that led him to faith in Christ. His last note scribbled on a scrap of paper while he lay on his death bed was an exhortation to study the Bible with a humble heart.
As a young woman, I was a bit preplexed when I learned that Christian seminaries teach theology–not the Scriptures. Theology, as I’m sure you know, is the study of God rather than the study of the Word of God. While the Bible is the basis for all theology, our seminaries teach and examine the thoughts and beliefs of theologians regarding what the Bible teaches about God.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve seen this study of theology in our seminaries as a good thing, rather than a negative. While I do not believe that the study of the Scriptures should ever be replaced with the thoughts and ideas of men, we learn from and gather knowledge from women and men who know God and have searched the depths of His love and grace.
This year, I’ve simply read and reread the New Testament for the past six months. When I received an iPad as a ministry tool, I found it a valuable tool for studying the scriptures, as well. Then I discovered the value of the audio Bible. I read along with the audio and gleaned a great deal more than I have gathered from all the years of reading it to myself. Preparing for bed, I would listen to the Bible. I’d read my normal four chapters before I went to sleep and then I would listen to the Bible as I went to sleep.
I found amazing nuggets that I’d missed previously. I’ve always desired to have a deep understanding of the Book of Romans. I listened and relistened to Romans. I read and reread Paul’s epistle. I found that repetition brought great meaning to me. I felt the sting of his rebuke and the comforting joy of knowing that my redemption was fully and completely bought by the blood of Jesus. I entered a new time of rest and joy as I rehearsed Paul’s writings from Romans 8.
Again and again, I would stop the audio to reread a part that seemed new and fresh. Perhaps it is the working though grief that has drawn me into the New Testament in this way. I must say that I’ve felt more of the Lord’s grace and mercy during the past 18 months, than I’ve felt sorrow or remorse.
My mother used to say, “Repetition bring out thought.” I’ve seen that my repeated reading of God’s Word has brought out a thoughfulness that I’ve not experienced in all my years of studying the Scriptures.
I’ve also wondered how much value the mentally challenged community would received by a daily rehearsal of the scriptures. I understand that the Bible is not a “magic book” but we are promised that the truths contained in the Bible are valuable and able to transform our minds and hearts. What do you think? Do you believe that there is value in having our member hear the Scriptures read to them as they follow along?