A youth group in a Bible church outside of Washington D.C. felt like getting a word out about the Word.
They wanted to inspire more people — Christians or not — to pick up the Bible and read it.
So, they created a website (www.IAteThem.com), coming up with the title from the passages of Scripture which use the picture of someone literally eating the Word of God.
Jeremiah 15:16 “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts.” (See also Ezekiel 3:1-3 and Revelation 10:9-10)
The site has good graphics and self-made videos, along with catchy mottoes like:
“If you don’t know the book for yourself, you don’t know the answers for yourself.”
But how did this group of teens move from simple exhortation (“You should read the Bible”) to inspiration (“Really, you can do this. Let us show you how.”)?
They decided to set an example for Bible reading by actually reading through the entire Bible — publicly and non-stop. In case you are wondering, it takes three days to do this.
Here is a time-lapse video, showing all that reading going on even in the night. I especially like the little drop-down page next to the podium which lets the viewer know how far along they have gotten.
A couple of things come to mind after watching this youth group
First, these teenagers invested themselves in a significant way in reading the Bible in public. Too often we get one verse or a brief paragraph — just enough Scripture to inoculate us to the real power of the Word of God to transform us. How might we be changed if we sat through a public reading of the entire law? Might that result in confession, repentance and covenant renewal? As we discussed earlier this summer, the reading of Scripture is a God-ordained means of congregational renewal.
It was the Word of God which led the King and the people to repent of sin and seek the face of God. And the Word-brought reforms of Josiah’s day were not isolated events, for we see the same thing happening during the days of Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra 9-10). When the Spirit and the Word blow fresh through people, nothing remains the same.
Do we really believe we are under the same counsel given by the Apostle Paul: “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13). This instruction was written to congregational leadership for congregational practice. Sure, we all have copies of the Bible ourselves (to say nothing of digital format Bibles), so one might be tempted to think Paul’s words here only concern congregations without personal copies of the Word.
But not so quick with assumption! There is power in reading large portions of God’s Word when in a congregational setting. Don’t take my word for it though, give it a try. Choose a Gospel and estimate the length of time it will take. Get your logistics all in order befitting your congregation…and then do it!
Second, in addition to the corporate benefit of Bible reading, there is obvious personal benefit too. What you are full of is what comes out when you are squeezed by life. The prophets filled themselves with the Word of God by literally ingesting it on some occasions. You cannot share with others what you do not “have.” One way of ingesting the Word of God is to spend time soaking in it, saturating your life in it, immersing yourself in it. Like foreign language immersion programs, the Word of God requires investment of time, energy and effort.
The challenge of these teens goes out to us — “Take up the Word and Read!”