Over the years I have had my doubts about whether the Bible really has the sort of priority it needs to have in the life of the so-called "EPC" (evangelical-pentecostal-charismatic) churches of NZ. [NB - it probably says something that these groups have been clumped together like this!]
Ironically, it is these EPC churches which trumpet a commitment to the authority of Scripture, but if such a commitment was a crime and the prosecuting attorney was sent to investigate, the question must be asked - again and again - whether they would find enough evidence to bring a conviction? In personal life? Family life? Small group life? Local churches on a Sunday morning?
The Bible tends to be assumed, rather than articulated. A commitment to the Bible tends to be more theoretical, than it is practical. There tends to be talk about it - and not often a lot of action with it. Believe you me, the evidence can be gathered! In the Baptist circles with which I am most familiar, at times I have discerned among leaders a fear of making the Bible too important - as if elevating the Bible necessarily leads to diminishing Jesus, or some such logic.
And yet the situation is improving.
This evidence is there too. The success of the E100 Bible-reading project. The state of our theological colleges where biblical studies is being taken more seriously than ever. The interest in biblical preaching at the grassroots can be overwhelming at times. The re-emergence of groups like TSCF with their commitment to the Scriptures ... it is all very heartening.
Then this past month I stumbled across a couple of resources:
1. An article on the Bible by a Langham colleague, Mark Meynell, entitled "First Things First ... and Last" which has been published online here. It is just SO helpful. I am thinking of photocopying it for a discussion in our young adults home group. Mark is also a Senior Associate Minister at All Souls in London and keeps a remarkable blog going here.
2. The two volume daily devotional by DA Carson, entitled For the Love of God is available now on-line here. Carson makes his way through the Bible following the Robert Murray McCheyne plan which is about reading four chapters a day. On each day Carson selects just one of these passages and offers a page-long meditation. It is meaty (yes, sometimes I have reached for my dictionary) and provides a much more nourishing feed than many of the daily devotionals on offer today. One thing that is so helpful in the online version is that whenever there is a biblical reference mentioned, the full text comes onto the screen by hovering the mouse over the reference.
I commend both of these resources to you