A lot of people wonder how a series of compiled documents that are thousands of years old can be relevant for today. But the Bible is not like other documents, for God’s Spirit breathes through the words of Scripture to bring them alive for us at just the right moments. Let me give you an example.
I was in a meeting this week during which we had a discussion about how God has prompted folks in our congregation to share generously. I was reflecting on the story of the feeding of the five thousand (Matthew 14), noting how encouraging it was to see our people stepping up to the plate in a variety of circumstances.
One person in the meeting mentioned that he had just been reading in Scripture about Barnabas, a church leader who was appointed by God to serve as an associate of the apostle Paul. Barnabas is otherwise best known by the meaning of his name: Son of Encouragement.
Another person in that meeting took notes about this, in the hope of following up on it in his own devotional life. He happened to have those notes with him at work the next day, and he wrote to me about how that affected his work day:
The next day, I was working with one of my staff, and after spending a very long time, he finally delivered a report to me, which was not the quality it should have been, especially given the amount time spent on it. As I began my process of reviewing notes, I struggled with how to get him to perform at a higher level. While considering this, I opened my work folder to take some more notes, and saw my note from Tuesday night: “Barnabas – Encouragement!”. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this colleague’s name IS Barnabas, and that I’m being given a not-so-subtle reminder to provide encouragement rather than criticism.
It might seem small, and to some it might seem a coincidence. But this is one way God works in our lives when we encounter his Word; and when we spend time together discussing the Scriptures, and our experience of them, it’s amazing how a portion can become immediately relevant in an area where might not expect it.
“I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness” (Psalm 40.10, NLT).
How has God’s Word been hidden in your heart as you have talked about it, only to find that it is revealed for a useful circumstance?
Spend time in the study of the Bible, and be amazed at how God uses it to encourage you – or someone else.