Thursday, April 23, 2015

Reading the Bible

Just the other day, a friend reminded me how difficult it can be for someone to read and understand the Bible. I forget how easy it is for me to ask the hubs to explain what I don't understand. Being married to the preacher has its advantages. I forget how overwhelming Scripture was to me when I was a new Christian. Even now, God's word can leave me puzzled. There are a few things I have learned over time that have helped me to not get all hung up when I am reading God's word.
  1. The Bible is not all about me. It is totally in my nature to think that everything is about me. I have to remind myself that the Bible is all about GOD. God's Word is His revelation of Himself to us. Instead of reading Scripture and only looking for what it is telling ME to do or not do, I need to first look at what God is revealing about Himself.
  2. The Bible is the infallible Word of God. Every word is true. I have a choice. I can get all hung up in "well, PEOPLE translated the Bible, so there are bound to be mistakes" or I can TRUST that God is God and He has complete control over His Word. I choose to trust that God is in control of everything, including the translating of His Word.
  3. The Bible is a complete book and each part of it needs to be taken in context with the rest of it. Taking one verse out of Scripture is dangerous. Each verse is dependent on the context of the verses around it. While there are absolutely verses there that we can claim in moments of need or in times of praise, we can't pick and choose a few verses to base our faith on.
  4. There are some things that I won't understand this side of Heaven. I have to remind myself that God's ways are not my ways. I don't know how the earth was populated from just Adam and Eve. I don't know what happened to Eden and the Tree. I don't know why God turned Lot's wife into a pillar of Salt rather than a pillar of marble or a ball of fire. I don't know how all the animals stayed alive on the arc. The list goes on and on. While I don't understand lots of things in the Bible, I trust God. I trust that HE will give me insight where I need it. I trust that HE will reveal what I need to know. I trust that FAITH will take care of the rest.
Don't make it more complicated than it already is. Each time I read God's Word, He reveals something new to me. For example, the first time I read the story of Noah, I understood that God flooded the world, saved Noah, and put a rainbow in the sky to remind us that He won't do that again. The next time I read about Noah, I was amazed that Noah was the only Man God found worthy of keeping alive, and I wondered what it must have smelled like on the Ark. Later, I read Noah and was amazed by the level of faith he showed by building the ark when there appeared to be absolutely no reason for it. Still later I wondered what the big deal was with Ham that Noah cursed Canaan. Still later, I was shocked to realize that all the "bad guys" in the Old Testament came from Canaan and that curse (Ninevah, Sodom and Gomorrah, and a bunch of the "ites" that God's people fight with all through the Bible).  My point is's a process. Don't make it more complicated than it already is. I don't have to try to understand everything the first time through. AND there are lots of things that are made clear later on in the Bible.
I mentioned Monday that I'd keep ya posted on how my Bible Reading goes. Honestly, I thought I'd be able to read through the Bible the same as I do Fiction. I thought that I SHOULD be able to breeze through it as quickly. I've learned that's not the case at all. God's Word demands meditation. There are things that I read every day that cause me to pause and contemplate what God is revealing about Himself and His relationship with Man in that part His Word.
One thing I know for sure, the Bible is a Story about God and HIS relationship with us.
It's all about Him.
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