Is It Legalism to Read Your Bible Every Day?

Is It Legalism to Read Your Bible Every Day?

by Raymond Brown


There’s a view among some Christians that sticking to a “daily quiet time” of prayer and Bible reading is just another form of legalism. In his commentary on Hebrews, in “The Bible Speaks Today” series, Raymond Brown answers this view, taking his cue from the exhortations about hearing God’s voice in Chs 3 and 4:

His voice must be heard. On three separate occasions the eloquent appeal of Psalm 95 is repeated in this section, obviously for emphasis and in clear recognition of its immense importance. We must read the Word of God privately and personally, meditating on its life-changing message. Each new day demands a fresh appointment with God, made real through systematic Bible reading and prayer. It must not be hurried; we need this daily meeting with God so that we do not neglect the “hearing of the Word of God” in our own hearts and minds. In our own day, some Christians, fearful of an inhibiting legalism or mere conventionalism, have spoken or written disparagingly of the daily time with God. In a society where discipline is encouraged and authority despised, it does not require great perception to see how some unhelpful and destructive modern thought-forms have influenced contemporary Christian thinking. The Christian who does not make a special point of setting aside in each day a particular time for the cultivation of his spiritual life is not likely to make significant progress in spiritual maturity.

Moreover, this is not a merely private matter; we must hear the Word publicly and study it corporately. The writer of this epistle [Hebrews] knows the supreme value of edifying teaching, as well of compassionate service, corporate worship and encouraging fellowship. Regular attendance at public worship, Bible-study meetings and opportunities for Christian teaching is warmly encouraged by our writer (Heb 10:25).

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