Treat Your Bible Reading Plan Like You Do Mediocre Series
It’s that time of the year when many Christians have resolved to read their Bible more regularly—typically using a Bible reading plan, such as M’Cheyne’s. If you’re like me, chances are you’ve read your Bible more in the past week than you did throughout December last year. However, for most of us, these renewed efforts typically wane, before hitting the brick wall of Leviticus in April. So I’m writing this short exhortation, which is as much a word for myself as I pray it will be for many readers.
We are living through what some have called the “golden age of television,” referring to the staggering abundance of films and series being released daily, on the almost innumerable streaming platforms available. But volume does not entail value. The Walking Dead is entering its 11th season— yes, you read that correctly—but few critics would deny, and ratings indicate, that the show has been in decline since the first three outstanding seasons. Despite this tapering in quality, the show still garners a sizeable viewership. So while you and I have access to more entertainment than we can watch in our lifetime, and many people are committed to testing that fact, the majority of it isn’t worth our time.
Even though much of what Netflix or Amazon Prime produce would have found itself on M-Net’s Open Time, we binge with insatiable appetites and undiscerning palates. This can only mean that most of us are content to watch mediocre entertainment, bang average films and series—en masse. But this isn’t the place or time to bemoan our problematic relationship with sheer entertainment. No, my purpose is far simpler. It begins with the honest admission that we all watch some fairly unimpressive, bordering on abjectly rubbish, shows. It’s true. Don’t deny it. I mean, Bridgerton—“A pretty expose about how wealthy and good looking people had sex, in the past”—was one of the most watched shows of 2021. And those who didn’t watch it have their own skeletons in the closet.
That brings us to the point of this short post. Since we’ve all proven adept at powering through shoddy stories on our screens, towards whatever meagre payoff the finales might deliver, let’s treat our Bible reading plans similarly. Putting aside the fact that when we read Scripture we encounter God and experience his love, hearing “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68), all of us march unwaveringly through much poorer stories on our screens. For as one of my favourite bands sings: “I’ve heard it said that he wastes nothing / So beautiful to behold / The Author of my hope is writing / The greatest story ever told.”