8th March 2015

The privilege of reading our Bible

Regular Bible reading is an important spiritual discipline for Christians and certainly something we want to encourage City Hopers to be doing. We are privileged to live in a nation with the freedom to read the Bible whenever we want: this is not the case in all areas of the world and it hasn't always been the case in England. This is a privilege we shouldn't take for granted but should make good use of!

Below are a couple of brief historic English stories that illustrate the value people have placed on being able to read the Bible in the past. I hope it will stir us to value the opportunity we have to read our Bibles today. (Source

1. William Tyndale c. 1494–1536 holds the distinction of being the first man to ever print the New Testament in the English language. Tyndale was a true scholar and a genius, so fluent in eight languages that it was said one would think any one of them to be his native tongue. He fought and died for the right to print the Bible in the common, spoken, modern English tongue of his day… as he boldly told one official who criticized his efforts, “If God spare my life, I will see to it that the boy who drives the plowshare knows more of the scripture than you, Sir!”. In 1536 he was convicted of heresy and executed by strangulation, after which his body was burnt at the stake.

(If anyone has been watching the recent 'Wolf Hall' series on BBC2 then they would have heard 'Tyndale' being talked about as a background figure.)

2. In 1496, John Colet, an Oxford professor and the son of the Mayor of London, started reading the New Testament in Greek and translating it into English for his students at Oxford, and later for the public at Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London. The people were so hungry to hear the Word of God in a language they could understand, that within six months there were 20,000 people packed into the church and at least that many outside trying to get in! Fortunately for Colet, he was a powerful man with friends in high places, so he amazingly managed to avoid execution.

But where to start?
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3 v16).

Bible reading plans are a really helpful way to get us reading through the Bible in a regular systematic fashion. Then we will read 'all Scripture' that is useful and not just our favourite bits! There are many out there to choose from including plenty of Bible reading apps. Below are a few web links you may find helpful.

Finally, here is a Bible reading plan that I created and currently use.

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