My Grace-Full Life

7.16.21 Praise & Prayer Prompt: Progress

TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. (1 Timothy 4:13,15 NKJV)

PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• This week, I’ve been learning some new stuff for work, and it’s like drinking from a firehose. Lots to learn. Lots of information. 

The Bible may feel that way. Not only for new believers but for seasoned Christians, too. I have felt that way myself, and I grew up in church (I was there every time the doors were open) and went to a private school with daily Bible classes (don’t ask — my grades were terrible). There’s so much to process… depending on your translation, you may be dealing with complicated language that feels awkward… You’ll read things that may be difficult to understand from a cultural perspective… and let’s just be honest — Paul wrote some very, very long sentences in the New Testament.

Then, there’s the length of the Bible. The New King James Version (NKJV) has 770,430 words. The average novel is between 70,000 – 120,000 words. So from a length perspective, the Bible is roughly seven times longer than the average novel. It may feel intimidating, especially for someone who doesn’t like to read.

Finally, the Bible isn’t like a novel to read mindlessly, but it’s a book to be studied. Joshua 1:8a says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.” That’s a tall order! After all, we just determined that the Bible is over 700,000 words long! “All that is written in it” is a lot! 

Before you think that idea is impossible, let’s consider what Jewish boys of Biblical times did: they memorized the first five books of the Torah (which are the same first five books in our Bible). That means that by the time a boy was 10 years old, he would have memorized Genesis (38262 words), Exodus (32685 words), Leviticus (24541 words), Numbers (32896 words), and Deuteronomy (28352 words).

I’ll spare you the math — that’s 156,736 words or 20% of our complete Bible. (I geek out over stuff like this.)

Yeah, sit on that for a minute and THEN ponder if studying the Bible for a few minutes per day is really that hard. Gulp! I stink at memorization. The idea of memorizing the first five books sounds like a Mount Everest I have no hope of climbing.

But I can tell you — the more I study, the more I read, the less intimidating Joshua 1:8 becomes and the more possible King David’s words from Psalm 119:11 become (“Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You”). The more I know the Bible, I can pull enough to memory to at least summarize the verse, even if I can’t quote it word for word. In fact, there’s only one verse I can quote with confidence: John 11:35.

Let’s flip to the New Testament… Though he was often verbose with very long and highly descriptive sentences, my favorite writer Paul said to Timothy, “Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all” (1 Timothy 4:13,15).

That keyword — progress. 

After all, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. 

Treat the Bible the same. I promise — no one is going to have all the answers in this lifetime. I’ve said it a million times — Billy Graham was still learning about the Bible on his deathbed. It’s never a one-and-done thing. But it also doesn’t take a degree in theology to understand the Word of God. I certainly don’t have one… and I think of the elderly preacher in Kentucky who preached at my Mamo’s funeral… the only thing he could read was the Bible. But he loved it and studied it and knew it.

So don’t let Bible reading intimidate you. Just make progress. One page at a time. And then, as time progresses… as you study the Word, and let your mind absorb God’s love letter to you — know it’s making a difference. Trust in Paul’s words and be confident in them for yourself: “your progress may be evident to all.”

Today, as you pray, thank God for His Holy Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be disciplined to spend time in it every day. Ask for wisdom and trust that He will give it generously (James 1:5). And ask the Lord to use His Word to transform you so that your progress may be evident to all.

SHARING ••• My Grace-Full Life is written by Denise Heidel. You are welcome to share anything I write, but please credit my writing and graphics accordingly. Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. Subscribe through my website to have My Grace-Full Life delivered to your email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the NKJV translation.

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