Welcome to the first in a new series of posts entitled, “The Big 3.” I will use this series to share some of my thoughts and ideas on various topics, in no more than 3 points. I figured if the number 3 is good enough for the Trinity, it’s good enough for me. Besides, the Top 10 thing has been done to death . . . just ask Dave Letterman.
As a Lutheran Christian, I notice that the vast majority of us do not bring a Bible with us to worship. Let me share 3 reasons to start a new tradition of bringing your Bible to worship.
The Portable Word of God.
This might seem too basic, but it needs to be said. The Bible is the very Word of God, the God we are going to worship. Bringing it to worship helps us get in the habit of bringing the Word with us when we leave home. Is there ever really a bad time to have the Word of God with us? If you have children in your home, it also helps them to equate what happens at church with the Word of God. So many pastors today have gotten in the poor habit of reading the Scripture readings out of the bulletin or off the screens and, to children, this just becomes more words that don’t seem connected with “The Word” unless they see you following along in your Bible. Your example might also help some other worshiper who is struggling to figure out which are God’s words and which are the preacher’s own words.
The extra bonus of getting in the habit of bringing your Bible to church is getting it ready on Saturday night. As long as you are getting it out so you don’t forget it, why not open it up?
The Context of the Word.
As the Word is shared, you have the opportunity to read along. I know . . . they put the words up on the screen, or they print them in the bulletin, so why bother with your Bible, right? While it is nice that they print them or project them, if this is all you have, then you lose all context for the Word if you do not have your Bible with you. As students of the Bible, we need to know the context of the Word being shared with us.
We learn the importance of context almost daily through the media. Sound bites are the fodder of taking something that someone says out of context. Political campaigns can rise and fall from taking a few words out of context. As I preacher, I am not immune to making a point with a poorly chosen text. While we may strive to offer the whole counsel of God, I want people to know the context that my message comes from. For me, it helps build the credibility of the message being shared.
Save it for Later.
In addition to bringing your Bible, be sure to bring a highlighter and something to write with. I am a firm believer in writing in your Bible. I pray that as you hear and study the Word in worship, you will hear ideas that excite you, refresh you, and challenge you. These points will be lost if you do not take note of them. I also know the power of the highlighter to draw out those meaningful words and to help you find them when you are in need of those words again.
I have also discovered that if we read and mark key verses in our own Bible, we can more easily find them later. While you can follow along in someone else’s Bible, there is something locked in our brain to know that the text we love is in the lower half of the left column on the right-hand page in John’s Gospel. Our brain will remember those details and help us in the future.
One of the side benefits of bringing your Bible to church and taking notes is the legacy you leave behind. You will have the ability to give the gift of your Bible and the things you learned through personal study to your family, and they can study your notes.
SOMETHING TO PONDER Are you in the habit of bringing your Bible with you to worship? Do you have a 4th good reason to bring it along? Join in the conversation and leave a comment.