“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16
The Charles Stanley devotional I read this morning was based on this verse. The gist was that God speaks to us today through His Word, and so we need to turn to it regularly. Reading scripture ought to be one of the Christian’s foundational habits, it’s true. In the Bible’s pages, we can find the comfort, insight or sometimes a not-so-subtle nudge we need.
I’d like to say that I’ve always loved digging into scripture – but that wouldn’t be honest. In fact, as a new believer opening up the Bible brought on more anxiety in me than passion. Reading verses, especially in the Old Testament was like trying to decipher some sort of foreign language. And Paul’s letters seemed so dense and wordy – by the time I got to the end of one of his sentences I’d forgotten how it started.
My husband thought it might be helpful to read together, which sounded like a great idea. That lasted about a week. The final straw was having to sound out the genealogy in Numbers 1. As I slowly sounded out “Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai”, my voice took on such an irritated edge that my husband suggested we take a break. We never picked back up, and I have to say it was kind of a relief.
I felt a lot of guilt and condemnation for my lack of zeal about the Bible, and wondered why I had such a problem. Was it my lack of church experience growing up? Or was it my late-in-life conversion at age 30? I wanted to ask advice, but was too embarrassed. Having been a believer for about 20 years now, I’ve come to understand that my issue with God’s Word early on was nothing to be ashamed of. It was simply an indication of how young I was in my faith.
Another aspect to scripture being “God-breathed” is that we need God’s Holy Spirit to understand it. He has filled His Word with treasures, and we need His help to discover them. Yes, learning my way around the Bible was important, as was starting to memorize certain key passages. But it was in asking for His guidance as I read that verses really started coming to life and having deeper meaning.
Do you feel intimidated or overwhelmed by God’s Word? Don’t despair – God intended for you to be blessed by it. As you open your Bible, lift up a quick prayer for His leading. He’ll be delighted to start opening your eyes, mind and heart to the richness that lies in the Book’s pages. This holy habit will begin to ignite passion instead of angst.