I had just started studying a philosophy I didn’t fully trust. To stay grounded I promised God I would spend equivalent time in Bible study, asking each day, “What did this reading say about God’s character?” I journaled what I found and how I felt about it.
I started with James, slowly digesting each thought. “What a wonderful, practical book!” I journaled, “The rest of the Bible can’t add much.” How wrong I was! I read Leviticus next, then Mark, then Deuteronomy, then Matthew. Every book had some new insight on God’s character, His will, and how best to live within it. I was enthralled, and I chose each book to read as the Spirit moved me.
So I took my Bible with me everywhere. I read on mountain tops, in valleys, by the ocean, and in the desert. I read in Holland, Arizona, Russia, Michigan, India, and Jerusalem; but mostly at home in the pre-dawn hours. This way of reading and responding to the Bible took me eight years. I was in no hurry. It was a luxury to sit each day and ask God to explain what I was reading. Matthew took over eight months. I read and reread it; so rich with clues to the nature of God and His Kingdom.
God’s Patience and the Bible’s Consistency
What struck me most was God’s amazing patience with people. He has such great things for us and we seldom really listen; not the way a child listens with rapt attention to a thrilling story, letting the imagination run. God offers so much, we listen so seldom, and He patiently waits. His tender patience captured my complete trust. How often I have failed by taking matters into my own hands. How weak and lonely it is to live in my own strength. But an abiding trust in a compassionate God changes everything.
What struck me second was the consistency of the Bible. Each book helps explain the others. It isn’t obvious at first, but when you really listen, when you compare one book with another asking God to help you understand deeply, the lights keep coming on! Don’t worry whether theologians would agree with you. This is God’s special book of love for you. He will help you understand what you need to know right now. It’s private tutoring in who He is and who you are with Him.
The other philosophy? It paled in comparison. God’s word gave me a richer, more satisfying and delightful framework for life.
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