About twenty years ago a newborn Christian couple, friends of mine, asked me to teach them how to study the Bible. Since the Bible they owned “only” had the Old and New Testaments, I showed them mine. It also had a concordance, dictionary, and some maps.
“Here’s what you really need to study the Bible,” I said. I took them to familiar passages and then homed in on keywords to look up in Greek or Hebrew. Somewhere around “alpha/aleph” my friends fell asleep. No more Bible lessons from me.
Michael Spencer described a similar event in his book, Mere Churchianity. God save a young woman in Spencer’s church. He struggled with how to disciple her. He could set her up with some ministry groups, send her to a women’s Bible study, introduce her to the prayer partners, or all the above and more that we commonly do in church. Instead, he gave her a Bible and told her to go away by herself and read it. He encouraged her to spend time with Jesus and get to know Him.
A while ago I asked friends on Facebook what would happen to their Christian lives if they had no Bible. Most stated that life would become very bad. I wonder why. I have friends in the Chinese mission field. They consistently report that the Chinese have very few Bibles. They may have but a page. Yet they are the most vibrant Christians. No one can deny that these saints know Jesus and spend a lot of time with Him. Like the apostles in Acts who were just ignorant and unlearned fishermen, the rulers could not deny that they had been with Jesus.
Jesus spent a lot of time with sinners. After He saved some of them, He still spent time with them. But something else amazing happened after their salvation. Jesus called them friends. He called them saints. Never again did He call them sinners.
We need to spend a lot less time going to church and a lot more time being with Jesus. He is all our righteousness every moment of every day. Abide in Him.