Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. II Timothy 3:16
Good morning Prayer Team!
Writing again from summer camp, our theme for this year is reading the Holy Bible. A quick survey reveals that most of our young people, and probably the majority of our older people do not read the Bible on a regular basis. In fact, most people’s experience of Scripture is what is read in the church. A number of reasons are given for this, including that it is difficult to understand, or they do not know where to begin. So, I will address some of these concerns because if these are shared by young people, they are probably shared by all of our people.
There is a Roman Catholic priest named Fr. Larry Richards, who I listen to from time to time. He is always encouraging people to read the Bible. In fact, his motto is “No Bible, no breakfast; no Bible, no bed.” He argues that the Bible is more important than food or sleep. If we wouldn’t leave home without eating breakfast, why wouldn’t we leave home without having spent a few minutes in God’s Word? If we are going to watch TV, have a drink, or read a book before bed in order to wind down, why wouldn’t we spend another few minutes in God’s Word as we end the day?
As we read in II Timothy 3:16, scripture was written by people who were inspired by God. The purpose of scripture is to teach us, to correct us and to train us in righteousness. How can one learn anything if he does not read? After all, the first academic discipline one learns is how to read. Take reading out, and all the other academic disciplines fail. Thus, it is critical that we read and study scripture.
The next question is, where do we start? If you’ve never read the Bible, I suggest you start with the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Read about the life of Christ, His teachings, His message of salvation, His Passion and Resurrection. After the Gospels, read the Epistles, which are letters to the early churches. These letters are as relevant today as they were two thousand years ago, whether we are talking about love (I Corinthians 13) or the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5), these issues which St. Paul wrote about to the early churches as just as important to the church today. If you’ve made it through the Gospels and Epistles, hopefully your appetite has been whetted to read some of the Old Testament to get some foundational background. Again, it doesn’t matter if you read the Bible book by book, or just pick a page at random, you will find nuggets of spiritual inspiration and direction on almost every page.
Lord, thank You for the sacred scriptures which You inspired people to write. Thank you for the inspiration and direction I receive from their reading. Help me to get in the habit of reading Scripture and to seek counsel and comfort in reading daily. Please help me to understand what I read and apply it to my life. Amen.
“No Bible, no breakfast; no Bible, no bed!”
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