Do you ever struggle to connect with the Bible as you’re reading it? Does reading scripture ever feel more like a duty than a delight? We’ve all been there. Could it be though, that we find God’s Word unsatisfying because like the Pharisees in Jesus’s day, we “search the scriptures,” but are looking for the wrong things?
Pastor and author Kevin DeYoung says, “We take hold of Christ as his words take hold of us.” The quality of our lives and our satisfaction with our relationship with Christ is deeply connected to our intimacy and relationship to His Word. Not because it’s a good deed, or because God loves us more or less based on our amount of Bible reading, but because intimacy with God’s Word is the means that we are reminded of and rooted in the hope of the Gospel.
There are times our hearts aren’t prepared to meet with God in His Word, when we don’t really want to hear what the Bible has to say. Or we don’t believe that we need more than anything else to hear God speak into our lives. We may be distracted by countless other voices (like what’s trending on twitter, our to-do lists, or our televisions). We may simply believe that the Bible is a number of archaic rules and so, not find it beautiful and captivating.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor who died in a Nazi Concentration camp for opposing the Nazis and defending the Jewish people wrote to his brother, “I believe the Bible alone is the answer to all our questions, and that we need only to ask repeatedly and a little humbly, in order to receive this answer. One cannot simply read the Bible, like other books. One must be prepared really to enquire of it…Only if we seek him, will he answer us…If it is I who determine where God is to be found, then I shall always find a God who corresponds to me in some way, who is obliging…But if God determines where he is to be found, then it will be in a place which is not immediately pleasing to my nature…This place is the Cross of Christ. And whoever would find him must go to the foot of the cross…And I would like to tell you now quite personally: since I have learnt to read the Bible in this way…it becomes every day more wonderful to me… I know that without this I could not live properly any longer.”
In Luke 24, Jesus Christ, resurrected from the dead, meets two disciples on the road (though they don’t recognize Him until moments before He leaves!). As Jesus speaks with these men, Luke, the Biblical author, writes something remarkable, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he (Jesus) interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
Did you catch that? When Luke says, “Moses and all the Prophets,” he’s using a shorthand way to say that Jesus started from Genesis and finished in Malachi. Jesus is saying that the entire Bible is ultimately, about Him. This suddenly brings life to the most obscure passage of scripture we might find!
Studying God’s Word, should never be dry and dusty. It may be challenging, but never dry. Once more, Kevin DeYoung puts it this way, “Doctrine is not a distraction from Christ. In fact, we do not have communion with Christ apart from truth about Christ and from Christ.” We love God’s Word because in it, we meet the living God. We love and study God’s Word, because Jesus is the treasure and prize of our lives, and until we see Him face to face, this is where He has chosen to let us see Him most clearly.
Do you ever struggle to connect with the Bible? What are some of the obstacles you encounter in loving God’s Word and seeing Christ?
excerpts from Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in Our Holiness, Crossway 2014. and Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer - Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Thomas Nelson 2010.
picture courtesy of Stephen Lively. all rights http://tinyurl.com/p96pbsa
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