Here are more thoughts from church members in connection with our “Reading the Bible For All Its Worth” series, currently in progress. We asked people to send in brief stories describing how they have been affected through Bible reading, study, meditation and/or memorization. They are shared by permission. The first installment ran earlier this week.
... I’m currently 17 years old. As a church kid, I’ve heard the gospel a million times but never really gotten into the Bible. To be honest, it seemed kind of boring. My parents encouraged me to read the Bible every day, so I could spend time with God to know him better. I obeyed my parents, and as I read the Bible my attitude toward God’s Word gradually began to change. I had so many questions and prayed to God to show me those answers that I could find by myself. I wanted to know the Bible more, so my parents encouraged me to go to Bible classes. God began filling me with the Holy Spirit, and reading the Bible didn’t seem boring—it was awesome! The more I read the Bible, the more of my questions started to be answered. Never take God’s Word for granted, or treat it like a chore to check off your list. It will bless your life if you continue to read it carefully. Thank you. —Andrew Payne
I was brought up in a non-Bible believing church that dismissed much of Scripture as allegory. Even though I didn’t accept what the church said, there was so much of the Bible that I didn’t understand. It seemed like such a big book and it wasn’t written in a simple, orderly manner. I found it confusing and overwhelming. I was also discouraged by my walk with the Lord – up and joyous one minute and down and disappointed the next. I knew that something was very wrong, that something had to change, but didn’t know what or how. As I desperately cried out to the Lord for help, God began to speak to me and told me that my problem was that I didn’t know His whole counsel. He said I was picking and choosing various Scriptures that I liked and trying to live my life by them. I thought, “Wow, can anyone know the whole counsel of God?” God let me know that He wrote it all out in His Word and He wanted me to read the whole Bible. He later brought across my path a reading through the Bible plan that takes three years—this has been an AMAZING thing in my life, and I am now on the 10th cycle of this plan. Because I read such a small amount each day, I have time to meditate on it, look up words I don’t know, or even read a commentary. I am not rushed and know that I am literally spending time with Him. I can now see that the whole Bible is His love letter to His people, and we have the most awesome God and the brightest future.
I am currently going through a program to read through the Bible in a year. I am proud to say I’m almost done – but I started the program almost three years ago. There have been many mornings where I’ve told my wife I’m going to spend lunch time fasting and reading God’s word, and she has found me in the kitchen around noon sitting down to a big late of food and reading the newspaper. At times I get discouraged thinking about how I’ve failed to hold up my end of the bargain when it comes to my relationship with God. But in those moments I’ll read something like Romans 3 that reminds me that my righteousness and acceptance with God has nothing to do with my performance! One of the biggest benefits I’ve found in my interaction with God’s living Word has been through my prayer life, as I’ve learned to do more listening and less talking. —Jim Lutz