August/September 2016 - Vol. 87

reading the bible in candle
Where to Get the Time to Read and Study the Word?
a reflection by Roger Foley

I can recognise many seasons in my reading of the Word [the Bible]. I was baptised in the Spirit in September 1974 and that’s where it all started. I recall setting to the task of reading the Bible, and for me, this meant starting at page one, then page after page after page. And that I have never regretted. Every day, every page, the understandable, the confusing, the exciting, the genealogies, the begot this, and the begot that … indeed the whole nine yards as the saying goes. It was wonderful and it was worth it.

God was establishing an ‘invisible’ foundation through His Word [the Bible] and slowly building it into His work [me, a sinner] and I am forever grateful. I pray I will never lose my passion for the Bible. Indeed it is life for those who dare try living it.

How did I ‘find the time?’ We had three young children, a mortgage and debt, a single income family, and I worked around sixty hours a week for a multi-national, and very demanding, company. So where did I find the time? Most in the Christchurch Branch of the Lamb of God know the answer. I deliberately cut down on sleep and gave that time to study. And ever since I have maintained that discipline. I am just not a person who ever ‘has a lie in.’ Those years built a foundation. Then followed many years, and still, of not just reading the Bible,but studying it. This included a four-year course, immediately followed by a two year Diploma and Examination Course, followed by at least ten years of disciplined  home study.

Why did I do all of this, was it necessary? I guess not, but I did it because I loved the Word, simply loved it. I did not understand a foundation was being built, I did not know I would need a foundation. But I sure did.

Veronica and I needed to enter a desolate and barren wilderness. We needed to ‘survive’ and hold onto sanity as our son Danny [aged 21] then Glen and his new bride Louise [25 and 23], plus two babies by miscarriage, all died within a short period of time. In this darkness, I found the Pentateuch spoke back to me, it came alive. I could identify with the Scripture speaking of a ‘vast and terrible wilderness’, I could identify with the struggles in the Book of Job ‘… though he slay me, yet will I hope in him,’ and I words declared by Zophar: ‘if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then you will lift up your face without shame, you will stand firm and without fear …’ That was many years ago, but it remains vivid for me.

My seasons have changed again. Now I do not us my NIV Study Bible so much, and I am not doing any courses. But I rather sit with my Basic slim-line NIV with no fancy notes. I now more meander through the Scriptures and my pace is dictated by ‘my discussions with God’. We have lots of ‘discussions’ and there is no particular hurry, and every day I am enriched.

I have been around long enough to be aware that many Christians are not strong on Scripture. They just do not set aside time to read and enjoy the richness of the Word of God, and sadly there are a good number of men and women in this category who get raised into leadership service. They will struggle as time goes by. A basic requirement if we are to serve God’s people needs to be our love for, and familiarity with, the Word of God. If we do not have that, we have little to ‘give.’

To those who have a hunger but not a discipline, to those who do not know how to begin or where to begin, to those who want to start the journey of study, to those perhaps in leadership but knowing they are a bit of a "hollow gong" - seek out a seasoned Bible reader and lover of God's Word who can offer you some personal help and support.

Roger and
                                                  Veronica Foley
Roger Foley is the senior coordinator of the Lamb of God, a community of the Sword of the Spirit with 7 branches located throughout New Zealand. He and his wife Veronica live in Christchurch, New Zealand.
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