This is something only a churchgoer would know, people outside of the church would naturally assume the opposite, but it’s true, there isn’t much Bible in church.
For a Christian, the Bible is the ultimate book of truths, guidance, and spiritual life. The expectation would be that it is the center of all we do and understand and yet that is not the case. The words contained in the Bible are there to instruct, save and sustain us but I have noticed a disturbing pattern where the Bible is absent and excluded. I have mapped out the pattern below.
“Church First – Bible Maybe”: I noticed that many people don’t read the entire Bible before they pick a church to attend (including myself). If you don’t read the Bible first, how do you then know if the church you picked honors what is written in it? If you did not read the book how then did you conclude as to which church to join?
“Lots of Talks – Little Reading”: I noticed that while preachers and guest spoke from the altar, that they would say a few verses and then talk about their own ideas and conclusions for the remainder of the time allotted. I would hear a few verses and then pages of what it should mean or stories that may or may not relate to what was read. Sports stories, homelife stories, childhood stories, you name it and it will most likely be a story told from the altar. After a while, you get the impression that they don’t trust the Bible to be sufficient if simply read out loud directly to the people as written by God.
“Here Is A Better Book”: Picture yourself in church listening for a good word and then the “Plug” for Bob’s new book and how it will change your life. Books, CD’s, and DVD’s all designed to teach you what is needed to have a meaningful and successful Christian life, (but I thought the Bible provided that). To make matters even worse I have been in churches where those books are being sold in the open areas right outside the main sanctuary. Even stranger many people will then read other books on the Bible in their entirety. Think about that for a moment, let it sink in, they have not read the Bible, but they have read one or more 3rd party books about the Bible.
“No Bible To Be Found”: I have been in churches that have food, stuff for sale, special programs and clubs to join but guess what, (no Bibles). I thought when I started going to church that the Bibles would be there waiting for me to read but it’s more of a BYO type environment. Bring your own Bible if you want to read along. Looking around most people don’t have a Bible with them to confirm that what is being said is true to what is written. I have been to churches that have a plethora of hymn books but not Bibles. The Bible is the single most important part of Christianity and yet is not present in abundance in many churches.
“Imagine If It Were You”:
Imagine you wrote a book that contained the ultimate understanding of physical health, financial security, and successful relationship building ever made. You spent your entire life writing the book and know for a fact that anyone who hears all that is written in it will be forever changed into the best version of themselves.
You send your beloved friend to present the book to the masses on national TV where he has been instructed to read what is written in it out loud so that those who hear it will be transformed. Once they hear the words their minds will directly connect with yours to clarify any confusion.
Millions of people gather around the world to hear your book.
Your friend gets on stage, opens the book to a random page (skipping several chapters), reads a few lines for about 5 min and then closes the book to talk about what it meant to him and what he thinks the author is trying to say (for the next hour or so).
He also throws in some humor and a few stories from his home life that he feels are inspiring. He then recommends “HIS” book to the crowd so that they can gain the full understanding of your book.
Everyone then thanks him for such a wonderful message and ponders on his words. Some even order his book to read.
How would you feel about that?
I myself have started deep diving into the Bible. I’m not just reading it, I’m trying to understand it without filtering it through my or anyone else’s understanding. I’m letting the Bible teach me.