Have you ever wondered why reading through the Bible every year is important? Have you ever wondered why leaders in churches consistently talk about reading your Bible everyday? Have you ever thought about how your Bible comes to bear on the leadership of your family, small group, or even church?
Leadership Through Personal Scripture Reading
Bible reading plans are a dime a dozen, with each one offering you a different way to read through the Bible. However, before we throw our latest plan off to the side, I want us to think through the importance of our daily Bible reading for our leadership. I am not just talking about leadership at a vocational pastor level, but at all levels because we are all called to be leaders/shepherds, whether that be in our homes, our small groups, or over a local congregation.
I often find myself reading Scripture in order to gain knowledge. I want to know who the kings were at the time of Isaiah’s prophesy, how many times Jesus told His disciples He was going to die without them understanding what He was telling them, or what churches Paul started on his 1st missionary journey. In doing so, I often fail to see how the text comes to bear on my life in particular.
Reading Scripture for Personal Growth, not Just Knowledge
In saying that, I am not saying we should not understand the facts and broad movements of Scripture. Those things are necessary and very important if we are to understand what God is communicating to us, but we must not stop there. We must dig deeper into each text we are reading in order to understand how the text comes to bear on our lives. In other words, our reading of the text is not complete if we just have the facts, we need to understand what the particular text is teaching us about God (His character or what He has done for us) and about mankind.
Once we understand what the text is saying about God and about mankind, we need to probe our own lives to see if we are dealing with the same sins mentioned in the text. As we make that a daily practice, we will begin to understand what Scriptures speak to different issues we are dealing with, as well as we will begin to root sin out of our lives. When we understand what Scriptures speak to particular issues/sins in our lives, we can then determine what others around us are struggling with. But not only will we know what they are struggling with, we will know what Scriptures will help them in their struggles because we have personally sought to apply them to our own lives during our daily Scripture reading.
Importance of a Daily Reading Plan
Notice, I said, “as we make that a daily practice.” Here is where the daily Scripture reading plans come in. They serve several functions:
(1) To keep us on track
(2) To provide us with accountability
(3) To expose us to a wide range of Scripture, which then causes us to probe our lives in different ways.
So, before you throw your daily reading plan aside, think about its function and what it is helping you to achieve.
Conclusion: Tying It To Leadership
If we want to lead/shepherd others, and we all are called to lead/shepherd others, then we must first understand how the Scripture comes to bear on our own lives. As we understand how the Scripture comes to bear on our lives through the daily reading of it, we are then better positioned to understand how Scripture comes to bear on others lives, as well as we are able to provide them with places to go in God’s Word when discussing with them the particular issues/sins they are dealing with.
So if we want to be a good leader/shepherd, we must first shepherd ourselves with God’s Word by reading it daily and reading it widely, as well as by asking ourselves more about the text than simple who did what and where did they do it. We must ask ourselves: What is God telling us about Himself and about mankind? After which we have to be willing to probe our own lives to see if we view God the way the text presents Him or if we are dealing with the sins the text presents.
I hope that you now see the importance the daily reading of Scripture plays in our lives. It is not for the sheer facts or to check another box off of a list as we go through the day. It is so we can, first, personally grow to be more like Christ through understanding and subsequently rooting sins in our own lives out, and, second, so we can help others deal with sins in their lives in a biblical manner.
Some Additional Things to Keep in Mind
As we read the text, we should also seek to understand how we can use it to counsel others through difficult seasons in their lives. In other words, we should not solely ask, what attitude toward God does this address or what sin is illumined in my life, we have to also ask how could/would I use this Scripture to counsel others who are hurting.
Most importantly, we have to understand that when we discover a particular sin we are dealing with through our daily reading of Scripture, we do not root that sin out solely in our own power. It is by preaching the gospel to ourselves that we deal with sin in our lives, as well as by taking certain measures to remove the temptation for that particular sin. This means that we have not truly dealt with a sin if we do not deal with it at the root level.
May I recommend several resources to help you with this. First, I recently wrote about preaching the gospel to ourselves. You can read it by clicking here. I would also recommend two other posts I wrote: Understanding Your Idols and The Functional Centrality of the Gospel. Second, I would recommend you pick up: Counterfeit God’s by Timothy Keller, as well as How People Change by Lane and Tripp.
If you are interested in different reading plan, my friend Dustin Bruce highlighted some in a recent post on his blog Gospel Spirituality. You can check it out by clicking here.