From my earliest days, I would not say this is the response I had to Scripture. Reading my Bible was little more than a perfunctory item on my good Christian to-do list. Struggling through the Old Testament, I wondered why some of the stories were even there. And don’t get me started on the genealogies.
I wondered what any of it possibly had to do with me—and honestly thought some it definitely didn’t have anything to do with me (I’m looking at you wilderness tabernacle dimensions (Ex. 27)—what exactly is a cubit anyway?)
It wasn’t until I made a small, but significant, shift in my Bible reading that things really started to come alive.
The Question that Changes Everything
Unfortunately, I wasted a lot of years asking the wrong question when it came to reading and studying my Bible. More often than not, I came to the Bible focused on what I could get out of it. What it could teach me about me. How it could support what I already thought or believed.
It wasn’t until I started asking, “What does this teach me about God?” that a new and deeper understanding of God, and my relationship with him, unfolded before me.
Why it Matters
As Jen Wilkin states in her book, Women of the Word (which I highly recommend), “the Bible is a book about God.” Revolutionary, I know. And yet somehow it is. So much of our culture revolves around us, making it so easy to allow that same individualistic approach to spill into our relationship with God and his word.
Here are two (of many) ways that asking what the Bible teaches us about God revolutionizes our reading and studying:
1. No longer are there passages that seem irrelevant, because every chapter and verse teaches me something about God.
When I was dating my husband I wanted to know everything about him. I still want to know everything about him. The more we love someone the more we want to know about them, and the same is true of God. The more we love him, the more we want to know him. Reading his word through this lens helps us do exactly that. Know him more, which only leads to loving him more.
2. I actually get a better sense of myself when I more clearly understand God.
This quote from Jen Wilkin in Women of the Word sums it up so clearly:
The more I ask myself, “What does this teach me about God,” the freer and lighter I feel and the deeper my love for God becomes. I’d encourage you to try it the next time you read and study and then let me know how it goes!
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