If God changes our hearts so that we believe these truths, we will be much more likely to live by them. This change of heart will be ongoing and will last a lifetime.
If I buy new running shoes, I’ll become a dedicated runner. If I subscribe to a language-training app, I’ll be fluent in a snap. If I purchase an expensive notebook, I’m sure to be a poet.
It’s easy to spot the flaws in this thinking, and our experiences confirm it. New equipment, by itself, won’t produce lasting change.
Though this error is obvious, this thinking still creeps in, even into our spiritual lives. In particular, many people act like getting a new Bible is the key to reading the Bible more.
The Effect of a New Bible
I’ve gotten a few new Bibles in my life, and the first few weeks unfold in a predictable way.
- Week 1 — I love using my new Bible and I’m reading it more than ever. The feel, the smell, the experience of holding it in my hands—I enjoy all of it!
- Week 2 — I’m still excited to read my new Bible, but my schedule is getting busy. For some reason, I don’t seem to have as much time or desire to read the Bible as last week.
- Week 3 — I recognize all the benefits of having this great new Bible, but I’m not reading it nearly as much as I’d like.
- Week 4 — I don’t read my new Bible any more or less than I was reading the Bible a few weeks ago.
I’m guessing you can relate. When we recognize that we don’t read the Bible as much as we’d like, we long for an easy fix. A new physical Bible seems like just the thing! Yet that new book doesn’t produce long-term change.
Producing Real Change
New possessions—in fact, most changes to our environment—won’t make us different people. They don’t have the power to remake us.
And yet, people can change for the better! We can change! Children of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, can resist temptation, grow in obedience, and put the deeds of the body to death (see Romans 8:9–13).
So, how do we change our Bible reading behavior for the better? How do we read the Bible more consistently, more deeply, and with greater anticipation?
Real change begins on the inside. In other words, if our hearts and minds are transformed, it’s easier for our behavior to follow. Repentance means putting off our old selves and putting on the new. (See Ephesians 4:17–24.)
Renewed hearts and minds emerge when God gives us new affections. And proper affections are born of truth.
With that said, here are some foundational truths about the Bible. We need to absorb these truths deep in our bones if we want to change.