We hear a lot of advice about how to grow spiritually. But what actions will make the biggest difference?
According to one study, reading the Bible is the number one action you can take to grow. “When it comes to reading the Bible, hands down, this is the input goal that has a direct impact on the total score of all the output goals, or discipleship attributes,” writes Daniel Im in his book No Silver Bullets, reflecting on a study by Lifeway Research. Im continues:
The more an individual did the input goal of reading their Bible, the higher they scored in all of the output goals. So the more you can help your church to read the Bible, the better they are going to be able to obey God and deny self, serve God and others, share Christ, exercise their faith, seek God, build relationships, and be unashamed about their faith.
That’s the good news: Bible reading is strategically important for spiritual growth.
Here’s the bad news. Most Christians don’t read the Bible. According to the Bible League in Canada, only one in seven Christians read the Bible at least once a week. Most Canadians, including those who identify as Christian, read the Bible seldom or never.
I’m glad that George Guthrie has written A Short Guide to Reading the Bible Better. Guthrie is the Professor of New Testament at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, and he’s also behind the CSB Day by Day Chronological Bible.
“There is no more important task in life than hearing from God and trusting him on the basis of his Word,” writes George Guthrie at the beginning of his short book. It’s a basic, accessible introduction to Scripture reading that combines good writing, relatable stories, practical guidance, and encouragement. It’s written for a general church audience. “The publisher wanted a book that churches could buy in bulk and distribute broadly to their members,” says Guthrie.
Guthrie writes for people who’ve never thought about how to read the Bible before. He explains why reading Scripture is important, and then covers the importance of the heart, how to read well, and the tools that will help.
Our church has bought a copy of this book for everyone. I’m confident it will be a help to us as we read through the Bible next year.
Guthrie’s purpose is clear at the end of the book: “My prayer is that, as a result, you will read the Bible better, and in reading it better, you will read it consistently, and in reading it consistently, you will live it out all the days of your life, to the good of Christ’s Church and to the glory of God.”
My Interview with Guthrie
I was privileged to interview Dr. Guthrie about his book on the Gospel for Life podcast.
If you’re interested in listening to the interview, then subscribe using your favorite podcast platform, or listen to the interview below.
You can also download a transcript of the interview: