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When chapter goes missing

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By Bayana Chunga:

A young energetic preacher climbed on the pulpit one Sunday morning.

He cleared his throat on the microphone before greeting the congregation. He proceeded to give an address of a passage in Haggai to the congregation.

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You could not ignore the noises of Bible pages as congregants flipped from one page to another. Everybody was looking. As time went by, the noise subsided leaving a few people on my pew panicking to find the passage.

The preacher started reading the passage. He was a good reader, eloquent and dynamic. His voice was somewhere between bass and tenor. He spoke with confidence, zeal and unparalleled detail. His articulation was enviable.

Half way through the reading, the people sitting alongside me were still flipping their Bibles looking for the passage. Haggai had gotten lost from the Bible!

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This is how much most of us struggle with the Bible on Sunday morning in church.

We know 27 TV channels by heart and fail to memorise the 27 chapters of the New Testament. We have memorised names of coaches, stadiums, nick names of clubs, league records in the English Premier League soccer more than we know which book comes after what in the Holy book.

Some vehemently argue that you cannot compare memorising books in the Bible to memorising sports details. I beg to differ. It is all about commitment. Where your heart is, where your memory shall be.

The Bible is Greek to a lot of people in the church today. Who is to blame? I think we all take part in this blame. The essence of scripture has been lost in our churches. Without the scriptures, the church has nothing! The Word of God is everything to us.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3 vs. 16-17

One wonders how the church can afford to neglect discipline on scripture study.

The church that disciplines its people to read the Bible with consistent energy and keen devotion is fast fading away. Unlike in the past, people are more familiar with individual verses that have become slogans of prosperity gospel than a wholesome understanding and knowledge of all the books of the Bible.

The other part of the blame is on us as individual Christians. We are too lazy, too caught up in the things and schedules of this world to the point where touching a Bible becomes almost a waste of time. We are too busy to read the Bible.

Joshua 1 vs. 8 says: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

The word of God is central to the Christian faith. It is a key to our successful Christian lives. Without the word of God, there cannot be meaningful spiritual growth.

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby.” 1 Peter 2 vs 2

Studying the scriptures is a necessary discipline. Let’s make it a point to create space even in our busiest schedules to meditate on God’s word. Do not forget to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and help you understand the meaning of scripture. It is also meaningless to study scripture mechanically without submitting to the authority and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

In general, most of us agree that there is a blackout on scripture reading in our churches. What many don’t know is how costly this black out is. A life without God’s truth is a recipe for disaster.

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