On several occasions I visited a retired pastor who had a pet parakeet named Gibby Gibson. It would say, “Gibby Gibson is the prettiest bird in all the world.” Or it would repeat, “Dr. Gibson is a preacher—a Baptist preacher.” But, of course, the bird didn’t understand one word it was saying.

Herein lies a lesson. Too many Christians go through the habitual motions of worship and Bible reading without the slightest idea of the meaning of what they are doing. They seem to think there is some secret charm or mystical benefit in just going through it.

The issue is not how much of the Bible you read, but how well you read it. I have heard many people boast about how many times they have read through the Bible, but their conversation revealed a tragic ignorance of the Word of God. Better to read one verse prayerfully, seeking the guidance of your “Paraclete” (translated as “Comforter” or “Helper” in John 14:16), the Holy Spirit, than to rattle off a whole book from memory like a parakeet. The important question is, “Do you understand what you are reading?” (Acts 8:30).

When you read the Bible, ask the Holy Spirit, your “Paraclete,” to guide you. Don’t be a parakeet.