you are My disciples indeed” (John 8:31)
That’s sometimes what it’s like to study the Bible. There are times we really want to read it and look forward to it. Then there are times when we get up in the morning and think, “I’ll just skip it today.” But then we do it anyway. That isn’t legalism; that’s discipline. And there’s a difference.
Discipline says, “I’m going to read the Bible because I need to do it. And I know
God wants me to do it. And when I’m done, I’ll be glad I did it.
Scripture reading is an absolute choice that we determine to do before anything else, even if it means that we don’t have time to check our social media or e-mails or texts. It’s something we must discipline ourselves to do. And here’s a good reason why.
The Center for Bible Engagement (CBE) recently did a study and came up with something I find very interesting called “The ‘Power of 4.’
In the research of 40,000 US believers, the study determined there is no measurable difference in behavior by encountering scripture 3 days or less times each week.
However, behavioral change is measurable and dramatic when encountering scripture a minimum of 4 days a week, hence the ‘Power of 4.’ Let me expand that point just a bit.
There is no statistical difference between Christians who read or listen to the Bible two to three days a week and those who do not engage scripture at all or only once a week. Think about that! However, there is a major impact when we read scripture a majority of days each week – 4 or more. We need to be in the word a majority of days (4 or 4) to receive the benefits of it’s transforming power.
In other words, filling our mind with God’s word a majority of the time in this ungodly culture is imperative if you want to live a victorious Christian life.
Attending church on Sunday is good but not enough. Listening to Christian radio is good but not enough. Like the Berean’s (Acts 17:11), who “searched the scriptures daily”, we need a steady diet of truth to offset the daily diet of debauchery we get fed.
David reminds of this when he says that the blessed man is the man who, “meditates in God’s Word day and night” (Ps. 1).
The CBE study found people who engage the Scriptures either by reading or listening 4 or more times per week were much less likely to engage in bad behavior. How much less likely?
• Getting drunk = 57% lower odds
• Sex outside marriage = 68% lower odds
• Pornography = 61% lower odds
• Gambling = 74% lower odds
• Average of other sins = 57% lower odds
“The ‘Power of 4’ is evident when we consider that for some of these behaviors (getting drunk and sex outside marriage) examined there is no statistical difference between Christians who read or listen to the Bible two to three days a week and those who do not engage scripture at all or only once a week.”
So how often to you read the Bible? How much do you want to reflect the glory of Jesus Christ to our fallen world? Like Moses, you’ll be more transformed by spending more days on the mountain with God!
If you’re not reading your Bible four or more times a week, then sadly, you won’t make significant choices or see changes any differently than someone who doesn’t read the Bible.
Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (John 8:31) .
In today’s world, more than ever, we need to see the value of encountering God’s Word every day and make it our supreme priority.