Having highlighted the downward trend towards greater disengagement with the Bible, it’s time to consider what can be done to turn things around. Like all spiritual transformations, a change for the better will ultimately be a work of God’s Spirit. But God’s Spirit often works through God’s people to accomplish His will.
In upcoming posts, I’ll highlights several ways pastors and other church leaders can cooperate with God’s Spirit to encourage a greater engagement with God’s Word. Here’s the first and most basic way:
- Model engagement with the Bible
“You cannot impart what you do not possess.” That’s a saying I heard repeatedly from Dr. Howard Hendricks during my seminary days. He was reminding us that our pastoral impact is linked to our personal example.
Increasing Bible engagement in our congregation begins by modeling it in our own lives. In our hallway conversations, counseling appointments, board meetings, prayers and sermons, it should be apparent that we are personally and presently engaged with the Bible—reading it, meditating on it, delighting in it and responding to it. It should be obvious that we share David’s delight in Scripture: “How I love your law. I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119:97). It must be clear that we are seeking to align our personal convictions and ministry decisions with the teaching of God’s Word.
I’m not advocating an ostentatious attempt to impress people with our Bible knowledge. Rather, we should marinate in Scripture until it naturally permeates and flavours all we say and do.
A pastoral example of this kind of deep engagement with Scripture is John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress. Charles Spurgeon had this to say about Bunyan: “Why, this man is a living Bible! Prick him anywhere; his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God.”
Here a question to ask yourself: Would the people who know me best say my “very soul is full of the Word of God”?
If we hope to call others to engage with Scripture, it must be evident that we are enthusiastically leading the way.