I’m a part of a bi-weekly Bible study that I love. Rather than working through a specific text together, we each come ready to talk about what we’ve been reading on our own.

It’s nice because each time we meet is very different. Also, it adds accountability. And no matter how many good reasons to read the Bible I have in theory, it’s easy to let it slip in practice. But if I show up and haven’t been reading my Bible, I’ll have to answer to the group as to why I’m not able to share with them.

But more than anything, the blessing is in the fellowship as we reflect on what God is saying to us through his word in an ongoing, relational context that is deliberately set-up to foster fellowship.

This past Monday night one of the people in our group shared something with me that really challenged me. We were talking about why we sometimes get away from regular Bible-reading and he strongly admonished us, ‘Don’t be okay with not reading your Bible!’

I was eager for the admonition, so I listened closely. He shared the following observation:

There are only two types of people who don’t eat: Those who are sick and those who are dead. If the word of God is the diet of the Christian, we are either weak or dead (unregenerate) if there is no appetite for the word.

He was right. And I needed to hear it. Neglecting time in the word is not a small choice. It means I’m either sick or dead, spiritually. Somehow I’ve spoiled my appetite for the beauty of God in his word — probably by snacking on what the world has to offer.

Too often the anti-legalist in me says, ‘It’s legalism to say that I need to read my Bible!’ Far too rare are the occasions when I think about the Bible as being the ‘seed’ that God uses to bring life or the ‘God-breathed’ sustenance for my soul that prepares me for godliness and every good work.

When I think of reading the Bible, I need to consider that I’m not being forced, but fed. I need to remember that I’m not reading because I’m constrained, but in order to be sustained. I need to think less of ‘reading my Bible’ and more of ‘receiving words of life from God.’

I left that Bible study so thankful for the fellowship and the admonition. Now, I pray, I’ll heed my brother’s words!