It was several months ago that Bible Study Magazine (a publication from Logos) asked if they could interview me for a future cover story. The March/April issue of the magazine has just been released and, well, there I am.
I asked if there was any way that we could offer the magazine to the readers of this site, and Bible Study Magazine was glad to accommodate. If you are interested in subscribing, you can use the coupon code BSMCHALLIES and get the magazine for $14.95 per year instead of the usual $19.95. Click here to take advantage of the deal (or here to get a preview of the magazine).
In the meantime, here is an excerpt from the story they wrote about me (and yes, it’s just as strange as you might imagine to read a story about yourself):
Growing up, Challies felt that Bible reading was an obligation. “I felt that if I was going to be a Christian kid, this is what I had to do.” Throughout the years, his perspective has changed. He now emphasizes that there is no scriptural command that believers must read and study the Bible each day—a realization that freed him to delight in his own study. “I think most Christians are eager to spend time with the Lord by reading the Bible—just like every son or daughter wants to spend time with their father. At least, in their best moments, they are eager. But life is busy and tiring, and Bible reading tends to get squeezed out.”
He thinks those who struggle should avoid feeling overwhelmed with guilt: “We are saved by grace through faith, not through reading the Bible and praying.” At the same time, he would also encourage them to deepen their relationship with the Lord. “I am eager for Christians to look at personal devotions as being less about Bible study and more about relationship. I believe we can find freedom in seeing personal devotions as a conversation: hearing from the Lord in the Bible and then speaking to Him in prayer.”
Challies begins his day with a 45-minute walk before sunrise while listening to the Bible. Each day, he covers 10 chapters. He then spends time in praying—sometimes even in his car. “Sometimes I love waking up in the morning and listening to the Bible; then there are other times when I feel no great desire. It is in these times— when the delight seems absent—that I need to spend time in the Bible anyway; so often God uses obedience to rekindle the flame of delight.”
Challies stresses that Bible reading isn’t a cerebral experience: “This is not about studying the way you would study a Shakespearean play or a textbook. This is relating to God. As I read the Bible, I am trying to ask questions based on my personal relationship with Him. If there is a story in there, I am asking, ‘Why would God reveal Himself in this story? Why does He want me to know this story? What am I being called to do?’”