A few years ago, it came to me that I had a superficial relationship with the Bible. I was a bit taken aback, since I had spent my entire life as a follower of the Bible. I knew many verses, stories, and interpretations like the back of my hand, but I realized there was a whole lot of stuff I had no idea about.
So, I did something I’d never done before. I determined to read the entire Bible, cover to cover. I used an app on my phone to guide me through the process and keep me on schedule. I was worried I’d give up when I hit some of the “difficult” books and passages, so following through the scheduled reading each day helped me be accountable to myself.
I loved discovering the symmetry between the Old Testament and the New Testament and realizing that the former is essential to truly appreciating the message of the latter. Many of the great sermons and passages in the New Testament were delivered to people who were very familiar with the Old Testament, and the point was to establish that Jesus was the fulfillment of the promises and prophecies that the Old Testament contained.
God takes each of us where we are at in our journey with Him. Studying His Word is one of the best ways to get to know Him better and allow Him to shine a light on our hearts and lives. I know that I allowed a lot of other voices to speak to my heart—many of them were good voices that echoed God’s truth, but they weren’t the same as His actual Word.
Here are a few things that have helped me in my relationship with the Bible:
- Spend time around people who are passionate about the Bible, and their passion will spur you on. Some people I know love reading the Bible and discovering new truths, and I also listen to podcasts of a few serious students of the Bible, and that continues to motivate me to grow and learn more about what God is telling me in those pages.
- Just read. Pick up the Bible, read a bit each day. I thought studying the Bible had to be a lot more involved. I thought I needed a plan, curriculum, studies mapped out, etc. All those things are great, but if you don’t have them, just read. Some Bibles have a short intro at the beginning of each book to give you better understanding of the author and the original audience.
- If you come to a passage that you don’t understand, ask a friend or mentor who is more familiar with Scripture, or look for an explanation or study resources online.
- Stick with it. This is a long-term relationship. Make the daily habit of opening the book, reading, meditating on it, and letting it seep into your mind and heart.