One vignette is still vivid these many years later. The practice was that the whole 200-plus persons community would eat their meals together. However, one of the rules was that no one was allowed to speak. My brother got an elbow when he whispered to someone to pass the salt! But he quickly learned that one of the reasons for the silence was to allow one person to read aloud. Interestingly, he read such things as Peter Pan, Heidi, and the like.
Now, silence at a meal time in a community family setting was confusing enough, but the choice of reading material was even more perplexing. So, that evening when their host family invited them to ask questions my brother said, "I notice that there is very little use of the Bible here. Is there a reason for that?"
In answer, the host explained that they were intentionally very careful not to overwhelm people with the Bible because, "We don't want people to trivialize Scripture by exposing them to it too much."
Yes! Now, pause a few beats to let that sink in . . . even as you immediately come up with scores of Bible passages that should lead a Christian community in precisely the opposite direction.
In the wilderness, Israel was certainly in community, but Moses was not at all concerned about possibly trivializing God's truth by overexposure. Israel was actually commanded to take God's truth, which was always to be on their hearts, and then diligently and at all times teach it within their families (Deuteronomy 6:6-10). And throughout the rest of the Bible we are told to preach it, teach it, evangelize with it, be saved by means of it, grow because of it. In Paul's words to Timothy, he was to give himself completely to it so that the personal profit would be obvious to everyone. And still to Timothy and to us is the stirring warning that a sign of the peril of the final days would be a trivialized Bible. So, again comes the command to use God's Word to patiently "reprove, rebuke, and exhort" one another with close attention to doctrine.
I hope the mealtime Silence-For-Peter Pan rule is not still in effect but it does stand there to warn us lest we begin to drift in that direction. The reality is that the Bible is already trivialized. In fact, that is the default setting for every person, saved or unsaved. But for Christians, we must stand guard and wage war against it every day. In the church, our families, and in ourselves.