I imagine you’d expect me, as a pastor, to ask you if you read the Bible. And, as a follower of Jesus, I, likewise, would expect that you do. But let me ask you this little twist: Does the Bible read you?
Often enough, we read Scripture because we should. Our devotion can be motivated more by guilt than by desire, more by ‘should’ than by ‘love’. Frankly, that’s not all bad, because a routine of reading the Bible is a healthy one, and it can serve us well when we are in times of crisis.
Do you ever wonder why soldiers are so disciplined, even when they’re on their own bases in peace time? It’s simple: they are so regimented in knowing what to do, that when they are in battle, and under stress, what they learned in peace time comes naturally; it’s reflexive.
Our faith life can be that way, too, though we have to be on our guard to keep it from being mindless. It’s easy to have a routine through which we go every day in Scripture reading, and find that when it’s all done, we couldn’t tell another person a single thing about what we read – it was not absorbed, because the mind wasn’t in it.
Engaging the mind in Scripture reading is important. So is engaging the spirit.
When we engage our spirits in reading the Bible, we can read the Bible, yes, but we also can let the Bible read us. God’s Word is timelessly relevant, and even a passage in the most obscure part of the Old Testament can jump to life in us if God wants to speak to our hearts through it. When we let the Holy Spirit speak through the Word, we may be reading the Bible, but even more importantly, the Bible is reading us. And through that experience, we can learn more about ourselves, and what God desires from us as his disciples.
So…does the Bible read you?
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart” (Psalm 19.7-8, NIV).