Summer. Camp. The two went hand-in-hand for me when I was growing up. I loved it. Swimming. Hiking. Canoeing. Huge games (preferably played in the middle of the night).
Each year, the first night of summer camp started the same way. After dinner, we would all take our seats at the campfire circle. A college student with heaps of energy would stand up and attempt to go over “camp rules” with a bunch of kids who wanted nothing more than to not listen to an adult go over rules.
Each year there were slight changes, but there were two rules that were present every summer, year after year, without fail:
- No entering the cabin of the opposite gender.
- Never go anywhere without a buddy.
We can leave the first rule for another day. But the second rule has heaps of practicality when it comes to enjoying the Bible. At summer camp, the Buddy Rule was meant to keep us safe. While safety may have been the primary purpose, it also resulted in relationships deepening and all of us having more fun. The same is true when it comes to the Bible.
Simply put: When it comes to reading the Bible, you need a “Bible Buddy.” (Yes, I realize the Cheesy Line has officially been crossed.)
You may think you don’t need one. You do.
You may think you can be consistent without one. You can’t (if you’re like 95% of the Christians I’ve talked to).
You may think you don’t have time. You need to make time.
You may think it won’t make that big of a difference. It will.
Here are four reasons that, I pray, will encourage you to give it a shot.
One: Having a Bible Buddy will make it more fun.
What is something you enjoy doing? Going to ball games? Vacationing? Going out to eat or to the movies? Playing games? Whatever your answer, you might occasionally do it alone. But if you always did it alone, how much fun would it be?
If you want to enjoy the Bible – rather than just believe it – you need a buddy. Preferably someone who is reading the same section of the Bible as you. Someone who will get together regularly to talk about what you’re both reading, the conversations you’re having with God, the questions or confusion you’re experiencing, and the application you will make.
Back in my Summer Camp Days, canoeing, swimming, hiking, and simply running around were way more fun when there was a buddy with me. Better still when there was a whole herd of us!
Two: Your Bible Buddy will see things you won’t.
You’ve probably read this before, and it’s a great truth to remember.
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. (Proverbs 27:17, NLT)
Almost every time I get together with a buddy – or group of buddies – I am amazed at how someone will notice something I completely missed. It doesn’t matter how much I pore over the text, how many times I’ve read it, or even if I have it internalized word-for-word. Others notice things I miss. And so often, what someone else notices is exactly what I need to hear and apply.
Bottom line: we need each other if we’re going to be as “sharp” as possible.
Three: Having a Bible Buddy will strengthen the relationship.
Over the years, I have had times when several of us would get together, and other times when I would only meet with one guy. Either way, one of the benefits was that the personal relationships always grew. Always, even if was a relatively short season.
There is simply a connection that happens when we get together for the purpose of discussing significant, eternal things. The same thing happens with the families that are a part of our small group. Conversations about the Bible lead to conversations about life. Conversations about life are conversations that matter. And when we talk about things that matter, we connect on a very different level than when we simply ask, “how was your weekend?” when we see someone at church.
Three: Having a Bible Buddy will make you more consistent.
Inconsistency is the most universal struggle people tell me they have when it comes to reading the Bible. There are several tips I have for improving consistency, but having a Bible Buddy is at the top of the list. (NOTE: If you want to know some of the others, shoot me an email or check out my new book 10 Tips for Liking the Bible: Because Believing It’s True Is Not Enough.)
Knowing that you’re going to be getting together with someone often gives us the push we need. None of us wants to be “that guy.” You know the one. The guy who didn’t get the reading done.
Obviously, being able to say we did the reading isn’t the only – or best – reason we should be consistent. But sometimes that little nudge is what helps us develop the habit of consistency. As we read consistently, and talk about it with a person or small group of people, we will start to enjoy it more. And when we enjoy it, consistency will become an ever-decreasing problem.
Fun. Relationships. Consistency. Find another friend (or a few couples). Pick a time. Read your Bible, chat about it – and watch what happens.
Check out an earlier post by Keith here.