I am a bit of a homebody. I have my little piece of land here that I live on, and it really is my favorite place to be. I like the familiar, the known, order… Yes, some call that boring. Maybe it is sometimes…
I like to stick with what I know, but I know that there is a growth that comes from trying new things too. I have now eaten Chicken Cordon Bleu. I actually liked it! (Yes, the best example I can come up with for expanding my horizons is food. Gotta work on that…) I have tried several new things over my life, and some of them have made me very happy, and the others have not killed me, and I have learned something from them, so I guess new things always leave me better off!
One area that I have stuck to the familiar is in my Bible reading. I might have read a paraphrase or a different translation from time to time, but my method has largely stayed the same. I start at the beginning of a book and I read to the end of it. The amount I read may vary, and the timetable has always been free to move around, but I, on the other hand, only move from the beginning to the end. Orderly.
This morning I sat down to have a quiet time in the Word where I have been reading in Isaiah, and I wrestled with it. I have been reading there for a couple weeks, but I am struggling to get something out of it. I know God has truth throughout His Word, but I have felt like this passage is just not speaking to me where I am right now. It is like being in a house with someone you are trying to have a conversation with, but they are in another room. You pick up the occasional word, but it is not conducive to understanding.
So, the question becomes, “How do I get into that room with God?” I want my times with God to have purpose. I want to know His story, His desires, His people, His plans. I want to better understand the Bible as a whole rather than looking at the snapshots of a single book at a time. I want to see how He works His way through the entire Bible and to see the flow of His desire to know us, redeem, us and sanctify us! I need the whole thing, not just a book at a time.
I have read the Bible through several times in yearly reading plans that start at the beginning and run to the end (Ah! familiar!) It feels like a race, and I never got to enjoy the journey, and some of those books were just plain torture to get through! I know it is all important, and the Word is timeless, but I did not look forward to it for any purpose other than to say I read it. Not a good reason to read. The purpose of reading the Bible should be to get to know God better, not to put a check in the box for the day.
So I started reading a single book at a time and going through them by smaller segments, and that has been very good for me, especially when going through the letter of Paul in the New Testament, or reading through the Judges in the Old. It allowed me to chew smaller bites and savor them a little more. There are those books in the Bible that bring so much action or intense teaching that you cannot pull yourself away from it! What about the others?
A few years ago, I requested a gift for Christmas or my birthday. I got a Chronological Study Bible. I thought it would be interesting to look through it from time to time and see how things tied together if I was doing a lesson on a particular story in the Bible for a class. I have used it off and on again over the years, but it has largely rested on the shelf next to my desk collecting dust.
This morning I pulled it out. You see, I want to know what God has for me to see in the books and chapters that we don’t always hear in church. I want to know the Truth He has in the lists, descriptions, and lineages that I generally skip over. I want to better understand His instruction to the people and His warnings in the books of the prophets. I feel a desire to break into something new that will help me see His Word in a different way.
So, this morning I started reading chronologically. It starts, of course, at the beginning with the familiar account of Creation, but that is fine. There we see the order of God, where one day leads to another. As I get deeper into this I will start to see where the editors have taken the Bible apart and then put it back together so the parts we tend to skip are mingled in and I can better understand their importance as the unfold in “real time”. I look forward to a better appreciation for these parts I have hurried through in the past.
So, I am looking at this as a journey. It’s going to take longer than a year to do it, but that is fine. I have the rest of my life to get to know God better and to be changed by Him. This is part of a Relentless Life. Driving and pushing to know God better and not accepting apathy in reading His Word. It is alive, and I want to break it open and get everything out of it that I can.
This is my journey to know God better. What is yours? Are you spending time with Him regularly? There are many different ways to read the Bible, as I have mentioned a few here. I don’t think there is a wrong one. The most important thing is to get into it and experience His Word! Don’t worry about where you are, or the things that you have going on. Just get to know Him!