"In order to read, we must have time. And in order to read books we do not already possess, we must have money to buy those books. Two common responses I hear when I urge people to cultivate the habit of reading are: (1) “I don’t have time,” and (2) “I can’t afford those books.” I have one suggestion that will meet this need for many Americans: cancel your subscription to cable television. ESPN (or CNN, or FoxNews, or HBO, or whatever) is always going to be more exciting and more convenient than reading the Bible, much less Shakespeare! Reading Shakespeare, however, will deepen you emotionally and intellectually; it will hone your interpretive skills and focus your mind on the great questions humanity faces. ESPN will only repeat the same sequence of events: flashing lights, thrilling music, and various winners and losers. Canceling the cable subscription will give you an amount of money each month that can become your monthly book budget, and it will free up your leisure time so that you can read not only the Bible but also the new books you buy with the money you save from not having to pay a cable bill.
…If cable television is not your thing, perhaps you
can free up time and funds by limiting yourself to one trip to
Starbucks per week (or month—save time and money by brewing good coffee
at home). Or perhaps for you it’s eating at restaurants or driving a
gas-guzzler or buying dvd’s or going to the movies that consumes your
extra money and time. The point is that Americans have money and
time…. and I would be remiss if I did not suggest that perhaps we
could all cancel a magazine subscription and give that amount of money
to missions each month.
Are we going to
finish the great commission or are we going to live posh American
lifestyles? Are we going to know every major league ball player, every
NFL quarterback, every top 20 NCAA basketball team, or are we going to
know the Bible? We give our time and money to what we care about most.
If we added up where we spend our time, would it look like we believe
that the Bible is the Word of God?"
This is from the introduction of Jim Hamilton’s The Nature of the Bible and How to Study It
(pdf) – a most worthwhile read. The exhortation (of which above is
only a part) makes the whole thing worthwhile, and his instructions on
how to trace the flow of a passage are quite instructive if you want to
learn how to dig deeper into the Word of God.