Okay so last week I shared with you how I’m reading my Bible right now, under the solemn oath that we wouldn’t turn it into a thing.
I could wax eloquent for pages about why it is so very important to read your Bible for yourself, but you don’t need that heaped on you. Suffice it to say, you wouldn’t want someone to read your love letters and summarize them for you would you? Chances are if you are reading this, you already want to dig in.
I mentioned finding a bible reading plan. Have you don’t that yet? If not, jump into 3rd John with me, it’ll take you all of one day.
But even with a plan, it can be really frustrating when it feels like someone is speaking a different language or talking about things you don’t understand. (Or trying to keep up with paragraph long sentenaces: I’m talking to you Paul.) (And, well, okay me too.)
So here is what I really want you to know about reading your own Bible.
1.You need patience. I remember sitting on that pew twenty-two years old crying my eyes out having just rededicated myself to the Lord. What now? I actually knew some things about faith and a lot of things about the Bible, but I had never really held any of them for my own. Friends, can I just tell you, holding these treasures from God for yourself is so precious.
My friend Nathalie (who also happened to be my pastor’s wife and is a great woman of faith) suggested that a group of us get together to read the One Year Bible. It took me a solid three years of going through it again and again to start to really understand what was going on.
You know that part in Pirates of the Carribean where he says, “It’s the Bible, you get credit for trying!” That’s actually true. The Bible is a book about God, not our own self-help manual Even when you feel lost and confused reading those words, God responds to your desire to know him better. Always.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8
Which leads us to the next point:
- Go ahead and get frustrated. I think we have this preconception that when we are Christians the whole Bible should be our guidebook and therefor something we just inherently understand. That isn’t the case. (Obviously if you have ever read Leviticus)
It’s okay to not know. Read it slower. Read it again. Pray about it. Check the context before and after. Get out a dictionary. Go back to Blue Letter Bible and look it up. It is totally okay if you are like, “What the actual heck is this saying?”
If one verse takes up your whole twenty minutes? Fine. So be it. Learning to read the Bible takes patience, remember?
Usually my frustrations come from asking the wrong question. We cannot approach the Bible with a “What will this do for me?” attitude, I find often that frustrations can be almost completely set aside when we ask “What does this tell me about God?”
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
- Pray about it. No seriously. I get that most of us are all like, “I have never actually had a revelation from God.”
I ask you this: Have you tried?
No one is going to see you. It’s your quiet time. Even if you think it is stark raving mad to pray for Biblical revelation just humor me and give it chance. Before you ever crack open those pages just ask God (you know, the one who wrote it) to show you something.
Hey remember all those time that you have heard people say, “Ask and you shall receive.” Or maybe “He gives his children good gifts.” But then everyone always leaves off that “in his will “ part? Guess what? Knowing Him is in His will.
If you ask for this, you are promised to receive it. If you can get those letters formed into words the Holy Spirit will give you some amount of understanding that you ask for.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. Ephesians 1:18
- Get low. For years I had read the Bible so much that I thought I knew what was going on. It was part of the process and I had to go through it, but then God started manifesting himself in crazy ways to me. He used my actual real life to stretch and expand the black and white meaning of the words in front of me. It blew my mind.
Get yourself on the ground. Figuratively if you want, but I mean it literally because no matter how long you search and no matter how long you sit at His feet, He can always take you deeper still.
Be willing. Be humbled by every revelation you receive. Be generous with every praise you give.
Good and upright is the Lord;therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is rightand teaches them his way. Proverbs 25:8-9
The Word of God is indeed living and active and we do well to pack up our couches and move in with it. We will find that it’s borders extend beyond our wildest dreams, it’s depths are unfathomable, and it’s riches unending.
What have you found that you need to understand your Bible?