FBINAA Sept/Oct Magazine.2018


Jeff Kruithoff

D uring the past several articles, we began a “Quest for Excel- lence” in our emotional and spiritual development that in- volve the practice of Solitude, Scripture, Support, Service and Significant Events. These practices as part of a faith walk were in- troduced to me by Charlie McMahan , the Senior Teaching Pastor at Southbrook Church in Miamisburg Ohio. We took a short break from this discussion in the last FBINAA magazine to review the Memory Roll from the summer training conference, but I would like to return to this important discussion. I sincerely hope that some of my fellow National Academy classmates have been able to spend time in SOLITUDE as a means of preparing yourself each day. We reviewed how very difficult it is to do and how it takes practice. Just as making yourself physically fit, you must constantly work at being emotionally and spiritually fit. This issue we will finish up some thoughts on the practice of Solitude and start discussing the practice of Scripture reading. We tend to think that we are warriors and able to deal with significant outside stimuli while performing at a high level. The reality is that we can only have one thought at a time. We may be good at changing our thoughts in milliseconds from topic to topic and perceive that we are good multi-taskers, but we are deceiv- ing ourselves by believing that we can think about more than one thing at a time. Only when we have quieted our minds are we able to absorb the meaning of God’s scripture. That is where we want to move our thoughts to next. Before we get to discussing the practice of routinely reading scripture, let’s review a little bit about the Bible itself. What if I told you there is a best-selling book, that has be- come the most sold and most widely distributed book in the world. In fact, this book is the most sold book of the year... every year. In 1907 there were 40,000 copies of this book sold and that number is now around 25 million copies every year. It has been estimated that there have been 5 billion copies of this book sold since the 1800’s. It is reported to be one of the first books created when printing (rather than coping by hand) was developed. You might be interested to know that according to research by The Religion Newsblog in 2006, this book is consistently the most shoplifted book in America. To entice you further, what if I mentioned that the book was filled with stories of sex, violence, murders, wars, international in- trigue, and has been translated into over 600 languages. For those of you who are regular book readers; you would likely press me for more information so that you could go out and purchase the book. The reality is that 9 out of 10 people in America own a Bible. So why don’t we spend more time reading this bible that is probably sitting somewhere in most or our homes. One reason is the difficulty many of us have in relating to the translation of SCRIPTURE – The Essence of Devotion to Faith

the bible we are reading. In relationship to the writing style of our other routine reading material, it can be a little awkward. I recent- ly heard the phrase “it is like gargling peanut butter”. Admittedly, when it comes to reading the Bible, that is very true with many of us. I have talked to people who express a diligent intent to read the bible from cover to cover and then found themselves months or even weeks later having abandoned the project. The reality is that with over 223 versions of translations in existence, we should be able to find a writing style that is comfort- able for us. I frequently read the Message Bible which has a writing style similar to how we communicate today. It is a plain speaking style that helps the stories in the bible literally leap off the page in a practical and real life manner. Conversely, if I am participat- ing in a bible study group, I will use one of the more traditional versions of Bible translation as the group makes an effort to gain more insight into the verse and then determine its application to our lives. Another mistake many of us make is to choose to read the bible in the order it is printed. Although logical with most books, the Bible was written over 1,500 years by over 40 authors. You might find it easier to read selected books until your scripture habits are well established. Even if we read just those same books over and over again. Billy Graham , the great Evangelist, was said to have read the book of Proverbs over and over again for years. He would read one chapter a day for a month and then return to read it over again the next month. Many of the prophets are ex- tremely difficult to follow because of their non-literal method of writing. I call them “real meat and potato books” which are not for the casual reader. These books are best read as part of a com- prehensive study that involves other reading material or books to help us understand and also to place the words into perspective. The critical component to address prior to a path of regular scripture reading is to make a personal decision that the bible is the complete and infallible word of God. Anything less will leave you short in terms of the complete benefit you can gain from the regular reading of scripture. Accepting the Bible as this authorita- tive book is the cornerstone of spiritual faith. Early in his Evan- gelism career Billy Graham was being pressured to question the infallible nature of the Bible . He went out and prayed, placing the bible on a tree stump and told God “O Father, I am going to accept this as Thy Word—by faith! I’m going to allow faith to go beyond my

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