More than 30 years ago I was, briefly, a registrar in cardiology. I became familiar with interpreting ECG traces, and therefore studied the QT interval. As a relatively new Christian, who has always enjoyed playing (badly) with words, I could relate the QT interval to a habit I had been inducted into in those far off days of muscular evangelicalism – the daily Quiet Time.
The early morning was recommended: 'those early morning quiet times begin the night before'. I was not, am not, and probably never will be, an early morning person. I soon learned to pick the time of day that was best for me; initially evenings, it became home most lunchtimes in my GP years (general practice was much gentler then). With a daily commute into the CMF office I am now back to the early morning.
But it isn't the time of day that matters; it is the discipline of reading God's word every day. In house jobs it might just have been the evening selection from Daily Light. I was a GP when I first read the whole Bible in a year – using one of the many versions which arrange scripture by date, or by 'Day 1, Day 2…etc'. Sometimes I would pick a theme – the 'I am…' passages in John, or I might use a little devotional book. I have used both editions of The Doctor's Life Support which you can now read daily on the CMF homepage. (1) I've always been resistant to Bible reading notes and study guides, but that's my problem – not liking being told what to do.
The point is that read day in, day out, with prayer before and after, 30 something years on I now have a reasonable grasp of the breadth and depth of Scripture. I've sometimes used whole verses in live broadcasts (though not usually obviously so – more 'None of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone' (2) ). Even though there are some Bible books I have only read six or seven times, perhaps any wordsmith skills I might have relate to reading so much really well written material, so often, for so many years.
In this 400th anniversary year of the publication of the King James Bible, (3) when we recall the transformation wrought in the English speaking world by putting the words of Scripture into the hands of ordinary people, let's get back to the Bible. Reading it regularly if not daily, in whatever way and with whatever aids work for you, is a huge blessing. And maybe on Sundays you could indulge in a 'prolonged QT interval'.
Andrew Fergusson is Managing Editor of Triple Helix
2. Romans 14:7