Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "He Keeps Me Singing"1 (Lyrics)
I love a book of moderate length (around 300 pages or less) with a straightforward plot and a reasonable number of characters. I prefer not to waste my time on a l-o-n-g book with a lengthy cast of characters and a convoluted plot. The same goes for a movie, play, or television show. I'm sure that my family would prefer to watch something without my constantly asking, "Who is that?" "What are they doing?" or "What's happening now?"
So, how do I wrap my mind around the Bible? This priceless tome is a compilation of the writings of many authors spanning thousands of years. Its cast of characters is endless, the plot lines swing wildly back and forth, and even the literary genres differ greatly from book to book. Yet, though it was written by human authors, we know that the Bible is fully trustworthy as God's message for us today.
2 Timothy 3:16 – The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. (TLB)
So how is it possible to read such a book with any understanding? For me, the key is to read it slowly and carefully, bit by bit, chapter by chapter, book by book. I have read through the entire Bible several times over my lifetime, but I prefer not to turn it into a marathon, trying to read it through in a certain length of time. My purpose and goal is the growth and understanding that come from reading God's message to the world.
My daily Scripture reading usually consists of portions from the Old Testament and the New Testament, a psalm, and a verse or two from Proverbs. I love it when these portions — and sometimes a thought from my devotional reading — interlace in some way. Here's an example of how that recently happened. I read in Psalm 131:1-2 – "Lord, my heart is not proud; I don't look down on others. I don't do great things, and I can't do miracles. But I am calm and quiet, like a baby with its mother. I am at peace, like a baby with its mother." (NCV) Then, a line in my devotional reading for the day read, "I want you to enjoy fully the good things I give you. The best way to do this is to live in the present, refusing to worry about tomorrow." These two interwoven thoughts assured me that I can trust God to keep things sorted out in our deeply divided world.
The Bible truly is our guidebook for life. Let's read and apply it in order to make the most of life.
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, thank You for giving us the Bible as our guidebook for living a rich and fulfilling life. May we read and obey Your commands as evidence of our love for You. Amen.