Ryan Eckhoff, NCBC's Groups Pastor, believes the small group practice of Engaging the Scriptures is of high importance. He challenged readers in a recent small group leaders email to examine our attachment to our phones compared to our commitment to reading God's Word. The challenge remains for all of us. Read on...
If you are one of the two-thirds of Americans who have an iPhone, you have a feature called Screen Time (look under Settings). This feature allows you to see your phone usage. It will tell you how many times you pick up your phone during the day, what apps you usually use first, which apps you are using most, how long you are spending on your device, etc. Our phone is often the first thing we reach for in the morning and the last thing we put down at night. Our phones are no longer just devices to make calls. They are an integral aspect of our lives.
If you were to leave for work mistakenly without your phone, how would you feel going all day without it? What if you went all day without reading your Bible, how would you feel? Would you have that same tension that something is missing? Would you have a sense of loss? Many of us are probably stretched thin with an abundance of responsibilities that cause us to consistently punt our Bible reading until "tomorrow."
Depending on which survey you look at, the average American will pick up their phone between 150-300+ times a day and will spend between 3-4 hours a day on it. Here are some questions you can ask yourself in your journey to Engage the Scriptures. How many times a day do you reach for your Bible... or open the Bible app on your phone? How much time are you spending reading the Bible? Can you replace some of the time spent mindlessly scrolling through your favorite social media platform with some Bible reading?
For me, the value of Engaging the Scriptures holds the highest importance. Because of the Bible, we have a framework for the rest of our belief system. We go to lengths to translate Scripture into every language possible because it is something we believe everyone should have access to.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
In a world where our smartphones have become extensions of ourselves, the importance of Engaging the Scriptures cannot be overstated. Just as we reach for our phones countless times each day, it's essential that we intentionally make time to reach for the Bible, be it in physical form or through a digital app. Our phones may provide convenience and entertainment, but it is the Bible that offers us a guiding light for our beliefs and values. Let us encourage one another to prioritize and treasure the Scriptures, finding balance in our daily lives and ensuring that our faith remains a steady cornerstone amidst the constant digital noise of our world.
We pursue God, pursue others and practice His ways.
Ryan Eckhoff, Groups Pastor