If you had told me twenty years ago that I would be writing a blog about falling in love with the Bible I would have laughed in your face (nicely, of course). I probably wouldn’t have known what a blog was or why I would be writing one anyway, but that’s another story. Suffice it to say, my church at the time, while giving lip service to the Bible, did not REALLY stress actually reading it, for heaven’s sake; not like my current church where sola scriptura (“scripture alone” for those of you who are not Latin fans) is celebrated and encouraged.
I’ve frequently heard that faith does not plop down from heaven onto unsuspecting folks while they plod through their lives. No. Faith is obtained by hearing or reading the Gospel, the actual Word of God. For millions of Christians this book called the Bible is the way God used various writers from all walks of life to write 66 books that communicate directly to the men, woman and children He created. From God’s mouth to your ears (or eyes, as you read).
For Protestants, there is no middle man between God and the reader. I can honestly tell you there have been many instances when troubled by something, I’ve read the Bible and found a verse that spoke directly to my issue. I didn’t say a prayer and open the Bible hoping I’d randomly land on just the right spot. Most often I found the perfect comfort or advice right in the book of the Bible I was reading at the time.
Perhaps the Holy Spirit made the verse jump out at me or shed light on a passage I would have missed before. Honestly, it’s as if that book was really alive and knew what I was thinking!
As I read both Old and New Testaments, I begin to see how God views things (a far cry from the way I see things.) I made a conscious decision, based on what I know of the Bible and God’s ways, to humbly accept that what I am reading is truly God’s word. I have a Bible with lots of footnotes and cross references that show me the entire Bible, despite being written over thousands of years by different writers, hangs together perfectly.
Now when I read the Old Testament, written thousands of years before Christ descended from heaven to redeem us and ascended back to heaven to sit at the right hand of His Father, I see where it all points to this Messiah, this Son of God.
The Book of Proverbs, one of the poetic books of the Old Testament, was written about 950 B.C. with portions about 720 B.C. Hundreds of years before Christ, the writer Agur in Proverbs 30:3-4, tells of the Creator God and His Son, Jesus, “through whom all things were made and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:3 NKJV):
“I neither learned wisdom nor have knowledge of the Holy One.
Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?
Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has bound the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the end of the earth?
What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if you know?” (NKJV)
When I read this, I was amazed at the writer’s reference to the creative work of Jesus, at His descent into the world and His later ascension; at His being Son of The Holy One.
There are so many other Old Testament prophetic descriptions about Jesus that the statistical probability of Jesus fulfilling ALL of them (which He did) are astronomically improbable unless he were the true Christ, Redeemer, Son of God.
Eventually, as one digs deeper and deeper into the Scriptures, one develops a Biblical world view. You know when the Bible has become your point of reference, your touchstone; you will begin to look at what our culture values and what it does not and think – this is world is nuts!
God promises peace in the middle of turmoil; He dries tears and strengthens the weak (“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.)
My favorite Proverb is 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will guide your path.”
REALLY believing the words in the Bible are God’s words, and trusting in what He says above what I may think AND bowing to His directions at all times, I have no doubt that, despite my incredible skill at messing things up, I will make the right decisions and do the right thing.
I have no idea how I once thought I could manage without the Bible as my touchstone. I see so many decisions I would not have made, so many attitudes I would not have embraced – even though at the time they were considered “enlightened” – that I regret the time wasted wandering down paths that did not satisfy or yield much fruit.
My advice? Try reading the Bible daily. Stick to it and I promise it will be life changing.