Reading the Word

I was recently at a Bible study where the average age of the group gathered was around 25 years old. I was seated at the back of the room. When the leader told the Scripture passage he would be teaching for the night, turned to it, and began to read, not one person in the group opened a physical Bible. About 75 percent of the room picked up their iPhones, hit their Bible app, typed in the passage, and began to read along. The other 25 percent didn’t move, no Bible, no phone, just listened. I made a mental note that I had just witnessed a paradigm shift in American Christian culture.

Sure, I’ve seen people in church look at their Bible apps on their phone and even take notes in their Notes app, but this was different. This was 100 percent. An all-under-30 crowd, no physical Bibles there, except the leader. At 35, he probably felt he should still read from his actual Bible. Plus it was handy for concealing his notes.

Likely many of the older generation would criticize this shift, but the crowd I was with that night would insist that they did bring a Bible and read it. In fact, they brought about 25 versions—and that’s just the English ones!

Regardless of old school or new school, physical or digital Bible, there is actually a much better version than any of these. It’s also much easier to carry than even your phone. . . . What? Is there some new technology? A chip implant or something? No. It’s the Word of God inside us. Memorized in the mind. Implanted in the heart. Nourishing the spirit. Flowing out of our lives.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. —Psalm 1:2

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. —Psalm 119:11

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds. —Deuteronomy 11:18a

No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. —Deuteronomy 30:14

Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. —Job 22:22

As we can see in just these few places in Scripture, there is a process that we are constantly called to in the Word. Getting it into our hearts and minds, carrying it into every conversation, circumstance, and cause.

There is really only one catch—we have to read it over and over to take it in, to memorize it, to meditate, to hide it, to lay it up, to delight in it.

There's nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us. —2 Timothy 3:14b MSG