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Read the Bible with… Ben McEachen

Friday 6 November 2015

Where do you live and go to church?

I live in Summer Hill, in Sydney’s Inner West, with my wife Amy and daughter Elodie. We are members of Village Church, Annandale.

What was the first book of the Bible you ever read?

I can’t possibly remember. But the first book of the Bible that really, really, really stuck with me is Ephesians. I studied it in 2012, during my first year at Bible College. Made a massive impression on me about life in Jesus Christ. Still does.

What are you reading in the Bible at the moment?

Daniel and 1 Corinthians. We’re studying the latter at church and in Bible study; the former is because I wanted some Old Testament in my life. Daniel’s a top book for witnessing some inspiring dedication to God, as well as dishing up heaps of outlandish biblical content that can make my head hurt and sing.

Where do you read the Bible?

Wherever. Generally, though, I do most reading on the couch, at the dining room table, on the balcony or during journeys on public transport. I also like listening to the Bible being read by people with fancy accents, although my inherent laziness can turn those enjoyable sounds into background noise.

What’s one thing from the Bible that’s stuck in your brain at the moment?

Romans 12 is all kinds of amazing. Starts with that rally cry to living our lives as a daily sacrifice of spiritual worship to God, before providing a lengthy, pithy and helpful list of Christian behaviours and attitudes. I read over it the other day and was again struck by its achievable yet intimidating content. But rather than working myself into a lather about how am I going to ensure I’m doing all of it, I’m prayerfully asking God through his Spirit to “renew my mind” (12:2) more and more. So that the things of Romans 12 become just how I operate as a Christian, as opposed to a check-list that I have to constantly remind myself of.

Name one part of the Bible you keep coming back to again and again and why.

Ephesians. Seems to me that most questions have an answer in Ephesians, thanks to its nifty combination of macro and micro revelations. I love its opening ode to God’s overarching purposes for everything in Christ, including the mind-blowing declaration that you and I can participate within such cosmic plans.

Describe one of your Bible reading failures and what you learnt.

Only one? Well, if I have to narrow it down, my biggest Bible reading failure is the low amount of verses that I know off by heart. I blame my poor memory but, honestly, the problem is my lack of willingness. I see the benefit of being armed with God’s Word but, frustratingly and lamely, I tend to give in to laziness. Pray I open my heart and mind more to how being drenched in Scripture will assist my living as God calls me to (Psalm 119:11; I had to Google that verse…).

What advice would you give someone struggling to read the Bible each day?

I should be praying and asking God to give me a hunger and thirst for the delights, instruction and revelation of his Word. I should not get bogged down in guilt about how much I am not reading. Instead, I should seek the Spirit’s help with setting a realistic target for Bible reading. The aim should be for quality reading and reflection time, rather than thinking I must churn through all of 1 Chronicles before breakfast. Maybe you’re the same?

And just for fun, if you were a monster what would be your defining feature?

My sarcasm. Because it’s a longstanding trait that can bring out the monster in me. Be afraid.

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