Of the many possible hindrances to our Bible reading, a basic hindrance may be the concept that reading the Bible is a difficult matter. Witness Lee points out that, contrary to this concept, reading the Bible is as simple as eating:
Our concept concerning reading the Bible needs to be simplified. We should not consider that it is difficult to read the Bible. Many people think that the Bible is a difficult book. They think that since the Bible is the canon of the Christian religion, they can never understand the Bible. This concept frustrates our ability to understand the Bible. However, we must consider that reading the Bible is as simple as eating. We all admit that eating is a simple matter. It is not easy to cook a meal, but it is very easy to eat the meal. This also applies to reading the Bible. God does not want us to write the Bible; He wants us to read the Bible. We do not need to invent anything or to investigate. Strictly speaking, when we come to the Bible, we come to the presence of God to be fed by God. Hence, we must first consider that reading the Bible is a simple matter. (CWWL, 1958, vol. 1, “How to Enjoy God and How to Practice the Enjoyment of God,” p. 519)
When we come to the Bible, then, we should realize that we are coming to God to be fed by Him. This is wonderful! God has prepared a delicious “meal” for us in His Word, and we can eat what God has prepared simply by reading His Word.
Just as eating is a necessity in our physical life, reading the Bible is a necessity in our spiritual life. We need to read the Bible not because we have the formal obligation to do so but because our spiritual life and health depend on it.
Like eating, reading the Bible is not only simple but also necessary. The ministry repeatedly refers to reading the Bible as a necessity in the spiritual life. Witness Lee shares that “breathing, eating, drinking, and sleeping are all necessities of life. If we do not breathe, eat, drink, or sleep, we will not live long. Similarly, spending time in the Word is a necessity in the spiritual life” (CWWL, 1978, vol. 1, “Experiencing Christ as Life and Being Constituted with the Truth for God’s Building,” p. 13). In another message given in the same year, Witness Lee reiterates that reading the Bible is a necessity of life:
Reading the Bible is not a legality; it is a necessity of life. However, in a sense, it may be good to apply the word legality to this matter. We need to be bound by the practice of daily spending time in the Word. We should take this bondage as a necessity. Apart from the Word there is no way for us to receive life, light, strength, or power from the Lord. (CWWL, 1978, vol. 3, “Crucial Principles for the Proper Church Life,” p. 32)
Just as eating is a necessity in our physical life, reading the Bible is a necessity in our spiritual life. We need to read the Bible not because we have the formal obligation to do so but because our spiritual life and health depend on it. The realization that reading the Bible is a “necessity of life” can save us from regarding Bible reading as an optional matter in our Christian life or from reading the Bible only when we have the inspiration to do so. It should also prompt us to consider how best to care for this organic necessity in our daily Christian life.
The ministry offers many practical and helpful suggestions concerning reading the Bible. Let us consider a few of them. Brother Nee advises the saints, particularly the young brothers and sisters, to “read through God's Word properly from beginning to end.” To this he adds: “You must have a proper plan for reading the Bible. Every day you have to spend some time to systematically read God's Word from beginning to end” (CWWN, vol. 38, p. 309). If we have not done so already, we should create a schedule to help us read through the Bible.
Relatedly, the ministry encourages us to read through the entire Bible once a year. According to Witness Lee,
This requires that we read three chapters in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament each day. On the Lord’s Day, however, we can skip the reading of the chapter in the New Testament and just review what we read in the past six days. This is because there are three hundred sixty-five days in a year but only a little more than two hundred chapters in the New Testament. This is not a hard task. If we desire to do it, we will be able to. (CWWL, 1964, vol. 4, “Practical Lessons on the Experience of Life,” p. 508)
We should not think that reading through the Bible within a year is a difficult task or that we are too busy to do so. Brother Lee assures us that “if we genuinely desire to do this, we can do it,” and he exhorts us to “make a commitment before the Lord” to read the Bible every day for our whole life (CWWL, 1985, vol. 5, “All Saints Speaking for the Lord—The Normal Way to Meet and Increase,” p. 294).
In our daily living we should have a time to read the Bible. We should not consider reading the Bible as a pastime or think that other things are more important. Reading the Bible is indispensable and cannot be put aside. We must keep the time to read our Bible.
Another recommendation in the ministry is that we build up a habit of spending at least thirty minutes in the Word every day. In a message given in 1984 on bringing the saints into the truth, Witness Lee shared,
We should help the saints to build up a practice or a habit that every day they would spend at least thirty minutes in the Word. This can be done by taking ten minutes in the morning, ten minutes in the evening, and another ten minutes before going to bed. We all need to build up such a practice to spend at least thirty minutes a day to get into God’s Word. (CWWL, 1984, vol. 2, “Elders’ Training, Book 3: The Way to Carry Out the Vision,” p. 325)
Surely we can ask the Lord to bring us into such a practice of spending time in His Word each day. As we exercise to read the Word daily, we should also guard against interruptions and distractions. In The Sufficiency, Pursuit, and Learning of the Lord’s Serving Ones, Brother Lee shares the following:
I regard reading the Bible to be more important than anything else. In our daily living we should have a time to read the Bible. We should not consider reading the Bible as a pastime or think that other things are more important. Reading the Bible is indispensable and cannot be put aside. We must keep the time to read our Bible. There are letters that I have yet to reply to because I must spend time to read the Bible. I cannot put my Bible aside simply to reply to these letters. If our Bible reading is always being interrupted for various reasons, sooner or later we will discover that we have suffered a great loss. (CWWL, 1960, vol. 2, p. 92)
May the Lord impress us with the importance of reading His Word, and may He bring us into the habit of spending time in His Word every day!
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