Yesterday's posted ended with the question: "So what keeps us from diving in and drinking deeply?" Again - there are about as many answers as there are people - most fall into categories like: too busy, tackling reading the whole Bible can feel quite overwhelming (I mean - there are nearly 784,000 words in the King James Version - and while different versions might have slightly more or less - none of them are what you'd call short. Of course - the entire Lord of the Rings series is about 528,000 words, and the whole Harry Potter Series (just for comparison) is just over 1 million words. (If you're interested in the word-totals of these series and others - click here.) Clearly - people are not opposed to reading. And - according to a poll in Christianity Today - there's a surprising number of people who have in fact read all the way through the Bible - including atheists and practitioners of other faiths. The 61% of adults sighted as having read the Bible were by far the highest numbers I found reported anywhere though. Barna's most recently posted results show a slightly different picture. (Barna's article is long - but quite interesting.)
Length aside - the Bible is a intellectually demanding read. At least a third of all English Bible translations are at a higher reading level than most things most people will read on a daily basis. The KJV reads at grade 12, NASB at grade 11, and NIV at grade 7 according to BibleGateway.com. While other translations and or paraphrases may bring the readability of Scripture down even lower - there's a limit to how much that helps as the Bible - regardless of how you put it - addresses highly complex and abstract ideas in such depth and volume - as to still put a considerable greater demand on the reader's intellect than say - a book like "Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins - which according to Scholastic's website reads at a 6th grade level. None of this is to suggest, however, that only only smart people can "hack it" - but rather acknowledge that reading through the Bible once in your life - you have accomplished something to be proud of.
Bible reading, Bible study and prayer - if we're looking at all this honestly - may simply not be everyone's favorite topic to read - even if they're devoted in many other ways to pursuing a dynamic and meaningful relationship with God. Many people who attempt to read it all the way through - especially if they start in Genesis and read straight through to Revelation find themselves stalling out within the first few books if not in Genesis because of - the genealogical lists, or the very detailed but hard to follow descriptions of items, or property lines etc.
Here's a clip of Jefferson Bethke responding to the question of why we don't read the Bible more. Bethke is the author and producer of this viral video which He then expanded into a book called "Why I Love Jesus but Hate Religion" He answers this question less by going into why we don't read - and more by going into what motivates him to read - and that's where we're going to head too.
We're also going to head into this strange sort of mystery about what people actually do when they're processing what they read in Scripture, praying and submitting themselves in light of what they've learned and experienced to God as "living sacrifices" so they can be transformed. See you back here tomorrow!