So, what are our pre-established thoughts regarding reading the Bible reading?
- Challenging endeavor.
- Time consuming effort.
- Long process.
- Boring material.
- Un-natural pursuit.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit…those are pretty negative thoughts. I know that when thoughts like these start creeping into my mind, it’s not long before I cast aside the object of those thoughts. At that point, I have pretty much made up my mind that I want nothing else to do with whatever is making me think those things.
But, what if those thoughts about reading the Bible are true? What does that say about our feelings toward the author – God? Do we also find Him challenging…time consuming…boring? Some people do. Think about it. Many people, young people in particular, do not give their lives to Christ because the life they are living is fun and exciting and they don’t want to lose that fun and excitement. They really believe that life as Christian should be saved for when there is nothing else to live for. (This is definitely a topic for a later post.)
How do we past the negative thoughts and on to positive thoughts? There must be a way. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people claimed to have read the Bible from cover to cover and enjoyed it. What did they do to get to that point? Are they reading a certain translation? I think we’d all agree that some translations are easier to read than others. Are they in reading groups? Sometimes a book club can make any reading more enjoyable. I don’t know. Whatever they did worked for them. Regarding the limited people I know, I can’t even say that any of them have read the entire Bible. I’d like to think that some people have, but I’ve never asked nor has anyone ever shared if they have. However, I can tell what I do in order to keep those negative thoughts from influencing me.
1. I thank God.
“John answered and said, ‘A person cannot receive one thing unless it is given him from heaven.’” – John 3:27
God doesn’t owe us anything. He doesn’t owe us this life He has given us, He doesn’t owe us His self-revelation through the Bible He has inspired, and He most definitely doesn’t owe us the salvation he provided through His Son – nothing! So, that is my first thought when approaching scripture. When I pick up my Bible, I purposely think to myself, “This is God’s revelation to me. He wants me to know Him. It is a privilege and an honor to hold a book such as this in my hands.” I want to constantly remind myself of these things; it’s only natural to think otherwise.
2. I get into the right mindset.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matt 6:21
All I have, I owe to God. My life, my health, my family, my “possessions” are all possible because of God. If I place my worth in anything other than God, I am not giving due reverence to God. I am placing the creation above the Creator; the gifts above the Giver. If my value is in God and the things of God, my focus remains on God. I want to constantly remind myself of these things; it’s only natural to think otherwise.
3. I pray for eyes to see and ears to hear.
“Open my eyes that I may behold the wondrous things out of your law.” – Psalm 119:18
God still speaks. I believe that. God speaks to different people in different ways and when I approach scripture, I pray that God will allow me to see and hear what He says to me. Maybe He will speak through the words on the page, maybe I will hear a “still small voice”, maybe something someone says later in the day will give me insight to what I read. However God chooses to make it happen, it happens. I want to constantly remind myself of these things; it’s only natural to think otherwise.
And through my time reading scripture, I am looking to get the meaning of the text and how it applies to my life in Christ. My outlook on reading scripture is totally dependent on God and the work that He does in me. As I stated before, seeking God is a super-natural act that by nature, we cannot do without God. Firstly, if you desire God and you are having trouble doing so, I’d like you to see that the desire you have is because God desires you. That is of first importance. We cannot seek God without Him first giving us a desire to do so. Secondly, pray for Him to strengthen your desire for Him. He’ll do it. Depend on His strength, not your own in your seeking. Finally, trust that He’ll do what He promises. His promises are all throughout scripture. Not only noted in Proverbs 8:17 and Jeremiah 29:13 (mentioned in part one), there is Psalm 1:1-2, Psalm 2:12, and Proverbs 9:10 to name a few.
I haven’t read the Bible from cover to cover. But, I’m trying. If I was to put a percentage on how much of the Bible I HAVE read, it would be less than 50%…possibly 40%. And trust me – that’s not an effort to boast about anything other than the fact that God has given me the grace and the desire to read any of His precious word at all. But, I’m trying. And I believe in my very spirit that God will continue to pour His grace upon me to be able to one day succeed in reading the Bible from cover to cover – but, it will be by His strength, not my own. (Phil 4:13)
So, if I can offer a word of encouragement; be blessed in your pursuit of God and all that you do to find Him. And remember what the Lord said in Isaiah 40:8,
“The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of God will stand forever.”
Pray for me and I’ll pray for you.
Grace and Peace,