Are You A Frequent Reader?

First published May 2017

The Reverend Ray Gibbs encourages us to find more time to read and reflect on the Bible.

Now here is a question to kick off summer.  It is nothing to do with sunshine, it is just an ordinary 5th month of the year question: do you read your Bible frequently?  Let’s say, being generous, that frequently is once a day, so, do a quick tally, how often did you sit, read the Bible and reflect in the last 7 days?  

Research a few years back suggested that most people in UK churches don't look inside a Bible from Monday to Saturday; less than 30% do in fact.  On the other hand, if we took a poll on how many people sometimes felt guilty about not reading the Bible as frequently as they ‘should’, it would probably be in the high 90s percentage wise.  The days are long gone when the only book in many homes was the Bible, and the Bible and Bible stories were used in school to teach literacy.  I remember growing up reading Ladybird Bible stories; I doubt they exist in that format now.

The problem is that the Bible and the stories, poems and discussions contained within it are supposedly central to the Christian faith.  If 70% or more Christians hardly ever look in to it, what does that do for our faith?  How are we encouraged or challenged?  It means that for the majority almost the only time they come into contact with the Bible is on a Sunday morning, and other statistics say that most regular church goers are only in church twice a month.  We are at a stage where, if we are lucky, we hear a few Bible readings, a few times a month in church, for a few minutes, and this is supposed to be one of the legs on which we as Christians stand.

The month of May is ‘National Smile Month’, a campaign for something different, but why not give yourself a reason for a real smile on your face, and give yourself time and space to read the Books of James and 1 Peter as the clergy will do, and think over what they are saying to you.