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Diving Deeper | Reading

Early on, as a follower of Jesus, I would hear people reference their desire and ability to go to a quiet place with only their Bible and emerge refreshed, renewed, and revitalized after four hours. If I’m honest, the prospect of this scenario seemed overwhelming and the opposite of refreshing. I think this was mainly because of my lack of perspective on the benefits and blessings of a time of studying. 

Studying is one of the most critical areas to figure out a sustainable rhythm. I’ve found myself lost, confused, and bored when I’ve attempted to read through the word with no real plan. A breakthrough came when I started to ask the Lord to show me what He desired for me to see. When we read God’s word, we must continually say, “This is talking to me.” The Bible is not an impersonal story about the past; it is the living word of God. It is an ongoing narrative of which we are a part. We hope to gain insight into life and direction through the revealed word of God. Eugene Peterson says it best: “The goal of reading the Word is to listen for the voice of the God who speaks.” There is a reason that Psalm 119 refers to the word of God as a lamp to our feet and light to our path. Scripture helps to guide and direct us as we seek to understand the richness of its truth. 

The Bible is filled with reminders of the significance and power that accompanies studying, learning, and resting in the Scripture and precepts of God. Paul teaches in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Studying God’s word allows us to ingest His truth so that it can permeate all of our inner selves. Focusing on Scripture reminds us of who God truly is and who we are in light of that truth. The word helps us understand, teach, and guide others according to God’s principles. Understanding the word produces thankfulness that causes us to sing and encourage one another with God’s promises. 

I agree with Lesslie Newbigin when he writes, “We have to read every text in the context of the gospel itself, for it is the clue to our understanding of Scripture.” The Bible is a narrative that points to the hope we find in the main character, Jesus. Studying the word through this lens moves us toward a deeper understanding of the work that is accomplished by Christ, which, in turn, produces rest in our souls. A richness comes from studying the Scriptures that connect us to the heart of God for us, His creation. As Martin Luther once said, “The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.”

To learn more about the spiritual discipline of study, check out the third episode of QAVA’s Reset series.

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