Online streaming services make our favorite movies and TV shows extremely accessible. If my preferred movie isn’t on Netflix, I can jump onto Amazon Prime or Disney+ to find it. All this entertainment literally lies at our fingertips.
But why do so many (including myself) often choose to watch, and re-watch, and RE-watch our favorite TV shows rather than trying out shows and movies we haven’t seen before? Based on my own experience, and from what I’ve heard and observed from others, this behavior may be more common than we realize. It was existent even before online streaming was a thing! I think about the DVD sets of I Love Lucy, The Waltons, Andy Griffith, and Little House on the Prairie that we loved to watch over and over again growing up.
If you like to re-watch shows that you love, you will realize just how many details, scenes, and dialogue you memorize. You will become so familiar with each episode and character that you feel like an expert on the show as if you had written, directed, and acted in it yourself!
From time to time, I’ve despaired over my inadequacies, weaknesses, and even lack of motivation regarding studying the Bible. Even after growing up in a Christian home, being part of Bible-centered churches, and receiving my Bachelor’s degree from a solid Christian college, I’ve wondered… Do I even know how to study the Bible?
Many lessons were learned through asking that question and seeking the Lord’s wisdom for answers. Here’s just one of them:
Read. Read. Read. And read again.
Ok, so that may be an over-simplified and underwhelming conclusion. But this is how Netflix helped me study the Bible better. Just as re-watching episodes of I Love Lucy and The Office over and over will make me become deeply familiar with each series, so reading and re-reading the book of James or the Gospel of Matthew will make me become deeply familiar with each book.
Some of you have a favorite method of studying the Bible, and some of you have no method. Whatever the case, we will do well to understand the author’s intent, stay true to the context and genre, and read, and re-read, and re-read, and re-read. Faithful intake and study of God’s Word will yield (over time) the fruit Paul desired from his Colossian readers:
“…that you may be filled with the knowledge of [God’s] will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
We aim to be faithful readers of the Bible not merely for the sake of knowledge, but for the sake of our sanctification and our effectiveness and fruitfulness as Christians (see 2 Peter 1:3-11).
However you study the Bible, and despite discouragements and setbacks along the way, keep reading! Your faithfulness will not be in vain.