I haven’t always been a reader of Scripture. In fact, it was only about eight years ago when I was slowly introduced to reading the Bible. I remember sitting in a typical Sunday school setting with fellow churchgoers discussing John Ortberg’s book, “If You Want to Walk On Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat.” This book was on the eleven verses of Scripture when Peter walks on water toward Jesus during the dawn of a windy day. I was blown away that an entire BOOK was written on (essentially) eleven verses of Scripture! Rather than discuss, I sat silently, mesmerized at the way everyone spoke about Peter as if he was their BFF. If eleven verses contained this much depth to talk about, how much more was hidden among the pages of the Bible? I was officially introduced to the book known as ‘The Living Word’. This encounter spurred me on in my own faith to begin reading and exploring Scripture.
Since that point in time, I have diligently read and studied. Through small groups and bible studies, through independent reading of Christian books, I have a better understanding of God. There are certainly books of the Bible that I’ve never opened (Nahum, anyone?), others that put me to sleep (Leviticus, yawn!), but others that I could read over and over (Genesis, John, Galatians!). By continuously exploring the Bible, I’ve (finally) realized there will always be tension. There will always be verses and stories that contradict each other. There will always be areas that I don’t understand or things about God that confuse me. But, this doesn’t keep me away. Because, honestly, amid the pages there is an incredible amount of treasure waiting to be unearthed. There are days I open the Bible and still can’t believe what is written about God. I am shocked by Christ’s display of love. I am stunned by the hope given. I am relieved how messed up people were way back when and how God used those frayed people anyway. I am struck by the compassion of God – even in the Old Testament, I find a God of compassion and mercy. Grace has been there from the beginning! The more I read, the more I see God’s brilliance, Christ’s expansive love, and the Spirit at work in my life.
Exploring the Bible to learn about God has been one of the greatest gifts of my life. Wherever you are in the reading of Scripture, I spur you on to continue. I find Scripture is better explored in community with a few kind (not know-it-all) people who are further along in their study so they can guide as questions arise. However, a Saturday morning pouring over the Psalms with coffee in hand is an awesome way to begin the day. Today, I’m sharing with you this piece of Scripture, written by Paul from Romans. This is a verse that stops me in my tracks. It’s one that I give great praise to God for. Nothing can separate us from God’s love. Nothing! This is something to shout from the rooftops. Praise be to God!