- March 29, 2017
- Christian Living
One of the best things you can do to enhance your Christian life is to spend time in daily devotions. Having time set aside each day for prayer, reading, and hearing from the Lord helps you to be in the right frame of mind throughout the day. If we neglect spending time with the Lord, it’s much easier to fall into sin, stress out over little things, and/or lose track of God’s calling for your life. Most, if not all, Christians believe in the importance of daily devotions, but there can be some confusion on the best way to go about it. How much time should be spent in prayer? What should I be reading?
Sometimes we can overemphasize the latest bestsellers and neglect some good, old-fashioned Bible reading. In this post, we’ll talk about the differences between reading the Bible and Christian books in our daily devotions.
Ease of Reading Daily Devotions
Modern society has trained us to appreciate anything that can make our daily routine run faster or more smoothly. Why make a whole pot of coffee when you can simply use something like a Keurig for individual cups? Need a personal assistant to help you plan out your day? Your smartphone is by your side.
Thanks to technology, we can participate in our daily devotions from pretty much anywhere. We recommend finding a quiet place where you can be alone, but it’s nice to know that you can turn any location into your daily time with the Lord. That might be on the morning train, during your lunch break at work, or just before going to bed at night. With many of the Bible apps that are out there today, you can also receive notifications reminding you to dive into Scripture for the day.
If you prefer to read from devotional books, a lot of the same technology is available to make that experience easier as well. With an ever-expanding library of devotional books out there, you just might be able to find more digital options than even your local store would have.
Whether you’re reading Scripture or Christian books, doing either on your phone, Kindle, or iPad allows you to quickly cross reference certain passages with other readers’ thoughts or with Bible resources within the app. Not everyone’s going to go that deep with their reading, but it’s interesting to see just how much we can do these days. There’s never been an easier time to take part in daily devotions.
That’s part of the reason why some Christians use devotional books or Christian bestsellers as a substitute for reading Scripture. Most Bible reading plans give you a daily excerpt that takes 15-20 minutes to read. On the other hand, a lot of the devotionals on the market today have a daily passage that only lasts a page or so. Do we sacrifice anything in our quiet time by taking the easier path?
Authority of the Writer
When comparing Scripture and Christian books in your daily devotion, there’s one really big difference that can’t be overlooked: the Bible is the Word of God whereas Christian books are simply written by Godly people.
No matter which Christian book or daily devotional you are reading, the author is not going to be able to top the beauty and authority of Scripture. Many of the devotionals out there take a single verse from the Bible and then spend 1-2 pages using anecdotal stories or examples from history to further drive the verse’s message home. That’s not a bad way to examine the Bible, but is it really better than simply reading the Bible alone?
Unfortunately, Christians as a whole aren’t reading the Bible as much as they should. One study found that nearly 20% of churchgoers NEVER read their Bibles. How can we expect to live our lives according to the Bible when we never even open it?
This means that we should prioritize Scripture over whichever devotional our friends are recommending. Not because there is something inherently flawed in the author’s writing, but because it is simply not as potent as Scripture. At the end of the day, our beliefs are not inspired by the writings of John Piper, David Platt, or anyone else from the modern era. Scripture is already a completed work and it is the primary source for truly God-breathed wisdom. Don’t neglect the authority of the Bible simply so you can have an easier reading plan.
Diversity of Topics
When it comes to daily devotions, there have been several innovations to help you spend time with the Lord. The first of these has to do with the technological achievements we discussed earlier. In recent years, the development of topical devotionals and 30-day reading plans has been another. The next time you walk through a Christian bookstore, take a look at just how many devotional options are out there. If you want a reading plan that focuses on sports, single moms, college students, etc., there’s going to be a book for that market. In a way, this is great because it allows us to find a series of devotionals that speak directly to where we are coming from. When reading these books, though, you may want to ask yourself “Is this taking away from the time I should be reading Scripture?”
There are so many lessons to be learned from the Bible. It teaches us about life, God, love, relationships, power, and so much more. As long as we are actively engaging with the Bible, topical devotionals can be a great way to expand on certain themes.
Finding the Right Balance
Christian books and devotionals help us find new insights into the Bible and the world around us. They can be incredibly helpful, inspiring, and challenging. We simply cannot forget how much more important the Bible is when it comes to forming our beliefs and making life choices. If your daily devotions tend to only consist of the latest Christian book, we might challenge you to incorporate more Scripture into your reading plan. This will give you a more balanced regimen to face the day.
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