Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How I Read the Bible

There are many plans out there for reading the Bible and they are all good. They accomplish what is important, which is actually reading the word of God. Some of them feel more like a cram session to me than really reading and learning what God has to say to me and how to live that out. Genesis 1-3. Check. Psalm 100-105. Check, check. Now a 2 minute speed prayer, check. Okay, done with my spiritual duties for the day. It doesn't have to be this way, but it feels like an enormous obligation to me and I'm reading my OT, skipping to the Psalms, then my NT portion for the day. Whew! I made it today.

What I really want is to have it get into my heart. For me, the speed reading doesn't work that way. If you want to know the author's (God) intention, and to figure out what they are saying, perhaps I need to read a book through from start to finish. You don't have to do it my way, but take a book like Philippians and read it through as you would read a letter, for that is what it is. I like Phillips translation for that, though you don't need that.

I have decided that I have been missing out on a lot because so much of the focus has been the NT, so I have started in Genesis and am reading my way through, trying to really capture the events and what God is doing. I have been doing this for a while and I will admit that I haven't gotten very far. I am still in Deuteronomy after nearly a year. I read and re-read, sometimes flipping back to see something I may have missed, and sometimes taking a week or even a month to meditate on one section or to revel in what God has said to me through his word.

I feel as if I am getting a bigger picture of themes, concepts, of majesty, of wonder, of the nature of sacrifice, of the working of God. As I am in church, go to a small group, or am challenged in some other way to read some other part of scripture, I am finding that what I'm reading in the OT points forward, and what is in the NT is echoed from the OT or a fulfillment of what was mere temporary, substitutionary or foreshadowed in what I've read in the Old. From the advent of sin, God's Guys, the prophets, the Levites(priests of Isreal), usually had no portion with the others, but lived off what was provided them through the gifts of others. Prophets were told, "your my guy" and given a mission, and suffered imprisonment, scorn, beatings, and worst, often no one listened to them. When I see what most of the people called to ministry live on, I am reminded of the tradition that God set up. They live off of the gifts of the people. Most of these guys and gals will have no inheritance for their children. Many of them are mocked or ignored, even though they are right where God wants them.

When I say I want to be God's Gal, his totally sold out servant, I do not say it without an understanding of what this means. When I gripe about my physical condition it is because I do not truly grasp in that moment how God is choosing to use me for his glory. When I want to get healthy, mentally and emotionally and even physically, it is not merely for myself anymore it is so that I can better serve. But, I will say that if he has designed the path of pain for his glory, let it be. I choose to be happy. I have determined in my heart that my maker, the all-loving, all-wise God, my creator, my savior and my friend wants this for me, then I will take it with joy.

Well, I gotta run and get my Yukon checked out, so I'll talk more about this later.

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