“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. I’ve promised it once, and I’ll promise it again: I will obey Your righteous regulations.” (Psalm 119:105-106 NLT)
If you don’t yet love the Bible, God’s written word, you likely don’t yet love its Author.
When I was in college, the only way to communicate with my girl friend who was five hours away, was pay telephone or snail mail. Stamps were cheaper than the telephone, so I wrote a lot of letters. But the joy and delight of my life; what I longed for more than almost anything else, was a letter from my girlfriend. I loved reading her letters.
Dr. David Jeremiah wrote recently in his devotional Turning Point (06-01-22): “The Bible, in a sense, is such a love letter—from God to us. Take the words of the psalmist: ‘The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.’ When children are born, they are ‘simple,’ or naïve, about life. Every parent’s goal is that their children transition from ‘simple’ to ‘wise’ through years of teaching by words and examples. The apostle Paul expands on this idea in 2 Timothy 3:14-17 where he says the ‘Scriptures…are able to make you wise for salvation.’ But it’s broader than just salvation. He says the Bible is for doctrine, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. Everything a godly parent wants for their child, God wants for us. The Bible is His love letter to us, a letter to be treasured.”
The Bible, in many ways and on many levels, is God’s love letter to His children. To not love “hearing” from our Father, to me, is a clear indication that we aren’t interested in what our Father has to say. That’s scary!
The primary way many believers “hear” from God is to listen to sermons or teachings. That can be dangerous. Sermons are interpretations of God’s infallible Word, by very fallible human beings. Essentially what is happening is we’re hearing what God said to them, not us. And please understand, I was a pastor for many years, and I did my best to be true to the Scriptures. I continually told my listeners to not take my word for how I was understanding what the Bible was saying but to check it out themselves. I believe the same applies to what I write in these posts.
In some ways, listening to what God said to someone else is like reading my friends “love letter” from his girlfriend. It may say some wonderful things, but I’m not the intended audience, so it leaves me wanting.
So, if you find yourself skipping reading the Bible on a regular basis, what should you do? Matthew Henry wrote: “The Bible is a letter God has sent to us; prayer is a letter we send to him.” Communication in the best sense, is a two-way process. Begin the process of speaking with God through prayer. Ask Him to give you a hunger for His Word.
Jesus is the key figure throughout the Bible, so if you love Him and are grateful for what He has done and is doing in your life, partner with someone you know and trust and who also loves Jesus, and read the Bible together. Start in the Gospel of John, and when finished with John, go back to Matthew, and read straight through the New Testament, including reading John again.
Read with pen and paper available and make note of words, phrases, or concepts that aren’t clear. Speak with your pastor or trusted Christian friend who is further along in their faith journey, about questions you have. But I have learned that the best interpreter of Scripture is Scripture. If you’re troubled by something you’ve read, make note of what and where it is, then keep reading. Many of my questions have been answered by other texts within the Bible.
Over time, buy a Concordance and some Bible software that will help you do word studies and enable you to cross reference verses quickly. I’ve used the Online Bible software for many years. It’s reasonably priced and is filled with helpful resources.
As always, if I can be of further help, email me at email@example.com.
The bottom line is – if you’re not hungering for what can only be found in the Bible, you’re likely not yet hungering to walk more closely with Jesus, the Bible’s Author. That, my friend, is a major “red flag.”
Blessings, Ed 😊