Friday, March 31, 2017

Reading the Word

Like you, I have been reading the Bible a long time.  A really long time.  I cannot remember a time I did not have a Bible.  The first one was a King James Version complete with all the important stuff documented by colorful pictures.  It even had a zipper which kept everything inside that had been put inside.  There have been many others since those childhood days of reading the Word.  What I have also learned is there are many reasons for reading.  In the beginning it was more about learning the information the Bible teaches.  Later on the reading was done for understanding. And, of course, the list of reasons includes sermon fodder, teaching material, and personal spiritual growth.
There was a time when my regimen required me to read a certain amount each day which made reading the Word little more than duty.  While reading out of a sense of duty may get us into the Word, there are surely better motives.  Nowadays, it is not so much about "how much is read" as it is "what is God saying here."  What I have come to believe is that the Word is truthful when it tells us it is the inspired written Word of God and within it is contained all that is necessary for our life with God.  (II Timothy 3:16-17) Reading while listening speaks more of what I try to do with my current time in the Word.  If God is speaking to us through the Word, then it only makes sense to be listening.
As we read the Word during these Lenten days, it might be a good thing to be more intentional about the listening part of this discipline of reading the Word.  We begin listening by praying.  "Lord, what is it You want me to hear from You as I read today."  Such might be a prayer to use before reading.  And then, as we read, let us expect to hear from God for unless we hear from God as we read His Word we have just been reading a book.

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