Who among us readers hasn't been caught in an assumption? We might use a word we think is right but really don't know the meaning of and someone calls us on it.
It's rather embarrassing when we get caught but often we don't, so we assume we were right and move on none the wiser.
As a minister, I hear a lot of assumptions spoken about the Bible.
"God helps those who help themselves," is something I hear fairly often by people who are well meaning and assume it is a phrase lifted from the Bible. It is spoken so often without challenge that most assume it is holy writ.
Another common phrase equally unchallenged as a quote from the Bible is: "God buries your sins in the sea of his forgetfulness." Again, well meaning, but not included in any Bible I have ever read.
Lest I sound pompous, I too have been caught speaking a phrase I was certain was a Bible quote: "A fool and his money are soon parted."
It is a proverb from Ben Franklin's "Poor Richards Almanac," not the Book of Proverbs from scripture. My bad.
My point? There is no substitute for knowing the real deal.
Yes, this is a plug for all of you wonderful readers to take up your own Bible and read it, yes, all the way through, cover to cover. It is possible.
I am not a voracious reader myself, but I do manage to read the Bible from cover to cover every year. I am in my 25th reading as I write.
I don't know if it is true or not, but one critic of the Bible was scoffing at the fact that the Bible is the number one best seller of any book virtually every year. He said if the Bible is the best selling book in the world, it is the most unread best seller in the world. Hmm.
I can't comment on that statement for anyone else, but I can make sure it isn't true about me. How about you?
Would you care to make the Bible the most read best seller for you? I hope you will consider it. There are so many benefits to reading the Bible you will discover. Hopefully among the benefits will be the ability to discern what is and isn't actually scripture.
Consider some other benefits of reading the Bible this year. Here are some actual Bible quotes that describe valuable benefits of scripture reading:
Psalm 119:98, 99 (NKJV)
"You, through your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies;
"For they are ever with me.
"I have more understanding than all my teachers,
"For Your testimonies are my meditation."
Wisdom and understanding are something we could all use more of. Peace, truth and encouragement are other benefits the Bible tells us accompany those who spend time reading its pages.
On a personal note, I find it is an excellent way to begin my day. To read through the Bible each year, I take about 30 minutes each morning to read a portion of the Bible. This actually is more than I need to read to get through in a year, but it helps when life gets interrupted so I don't fall behind.
I find reading the Bible helps me focus for the day and gives me something good to think about or ponder. Perhaps the greatest benefit I feel is that I just enjoy reading the Bible every year. I never cease to find something new, understand something better and review some of the familiar stories, characters and truths that speak volumes about our lives.
So, I hope you consider going to the source for your inspirations. Find what really is among the pages of the Bible.
Pull yours out, dust if off and find out what's inside. Make it the most read best seller of all time for you.
Stephen Brown is pastor of the Kenai New Life Assembly of God, 209 Princess St., Kenai.
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