I love the Bible. Not a shocker, I suppose, coming from a pastor. But there is nothing like the Scripture. No other book that even makes the claims that this one does: “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
The Bible teaches us, corrects us, encourages, rebukes, directs, guides, and helps us. We find both examples to live by (Jesus) as well as cautionary tales in abundance (Samson, Solomon, and Saul, for starters). Stunning narratives. Gorgeous poetry. Timely wisdom. World-altering biography.
And yet, for all of this, we struggle to read this book. Yes, we’re a post-literate culture. And the Bible is an ancient text written to people long ago and far away. But come on. Multiple, reader-friendly translations abound. You can listen to audio in your car and on your phone, tablet, or computer. Tools and reading plans abound- even devotionals written by your favorite pastor or personality. It’s all there.
So what’s missing? For some, it’s having a purposeful plan and others to encourage them to stick with it. For others, making the effort to learn how to understand and apply what they’ve read is a missing key. But mostly, I think it’s about what we believe will happen when we open God’s Word. Reading nice thoughts and interesting stories isn’t enough, even from this sacred text. No, I believe we need to revise our expectations- to believe that we will actually encounter the Living God in His Word. That as we soak in these words (yep, I’m talking about biblical meditation), something powerful occurs. The Spirit and our spirits meet. Our soul enlarges. Our lives change.
Yes, it’s that time again- a new year. Why not make this year different? Choose to do more than just make a better effort to get into the Bible. Instead, let the Bible get into you.