Bible Reading - Part 3
The first is from Robert Murray M’Cheyne, to a friend: “You read your Bible regularly, of course; but do try and understand it, and still more to feel it. Read more parts than one at a time. For example, if you are reading Genesis, read a Psalm also; or if you are reading Matthew, read a small bit of an Epistle also. Turn the Bible into prayer. Thus, if you were reading the First Psalm, spread the Bible on the chair before you, and kneel and pray, ‘O Lord, give me the blessedness of the man’; ‘let me not stand in the counsel of the ungodly.’ This is the best way of knowing the meaning of the Bible, and of learning to pray.”
Wise advice. We grow in our knowledge of our own weakness and need for God, as we stop and consider what in a particular passage we are incapable of producing ourselves, and therefore need God to accomplish. We don’t learn to pray without the whole Bible.
And we don’t learn the Bible without prayer. The riches of Scripture tumble out of the pages more easily as we turn the Bible vertically, and interact with the living God through its pages.
Actually, “interact” is too weak a word. Better: wrestle with. Beseech. Ask. Plead. Cry out to. We interact with operating systems. We wrestle with a living Being.
Wrestle is the right word, because Bible reading is fighting. I don’t mean you fight to wake up and actually do it - though that might be true. I mean that Bible reading is an essential part of your fight to believe. Do not be surprised when it is a fight, because, in a fallen world, fighting for faith is normal. There are no silver bullets. There is God, who pours out His grace to us in Word, prayer and fellowship. Therefore we should not be surprised when an annual Bible reading plan is hard, and feels like work.
The only way work can become a joy is if it’s driven by faith. Let yourself be carried along in the work of Bible reading by the Lord’s promise: “. . . your work shall be rewarded.” (2 Chronicles 15:7).
Gather a few others with you. Form a group of three, and read together - in person, via text, or over a lunch hour . . . the point: to encourage one another to read it, understand it, pray it, and live it.