My latest frustration in reading the Bible (and the subsequent AHA moment)
I have tried to read through Isaiah 1 over the last week. That is far more time than I want to spend on a chapter. I was just trying to find my way on how to do it and get the most out of it.
Yesterday, I grew extremely frustrated because I keep/kept trying Bible study methods that just didn't work for me. They might have worked for a bit, but then I would hit a wall. I would stop getting something out of it. I learned a lot of great information, sure. But, I wanted more. It felt very shallow.
That made me sad and I began to wonder about myself.
But, here is where the frustration came in: So what? That was what kept coming to mind as I tried to read Isaiah 1 and study it in numerous ways.
All the information is great to know. But, so what?
That's what I thought.
Then I wondered if I should feel guilty for that sacrilegious and unchristian thought.
But, was I wrong?
The next thought I had was,, who said I have to learn every single possible thing about every verse in the Bible or else I would be a lesser Christian or would be wrong.
Who said to follow these Bible reading and Bible study methods, all the do this, don't do that, must do, should do, should avoid, etc. (fill in the blank)? Who said?
I heard God's voice, in the way He speaks with me, ask that question. Who said?
Those Bible reading and study methods are from man. (All of which are useful and can be good.) What does the Bible say about how to read it and study it? I heard God ask.
The Bible does not give us methods on how to read and study the Bible. The methods are what the Spirit has given man/humans/individuals/people.
Then, I heard Him say that He made me a certain way, gave me a certain personality and gifts. That He has a way for me to read the Bible that is our way (His and mine) and that is not wrong. Being in the Bible, and keeping things in context, is the key. To allow the Bible to interpret itself. That we, Him and me, will read it in a way that works best in that moment, in that day, and not to worry about what man says. To not worry about studying the Bible right now and to just read the Bible. To read it through again, and get it in me, so I can make sure I remember things correctly and keep things in proper context.
God shared that keeping things simple for me right now will be more fulfilling for me/us. Just read and pray and journal through the Bible.
Then, the Father shared with me that there is scholarship reading and there is reading for a relationship. Right now, I need to read for the relational component. To be with Him and hang out with Him in His Word.
To read the Bible as a way to draw near and be with Him.
This is the season we are in together.
No. He did not tell me to stop studying the Bible. But rather at this time to have a relationship with Him in the Bible... To use the Bible as a means to draw near to Him, to remain in Him and in His Word, as we read it cover to cover. To use Bible reading as a way of life, rather than studying the Bible to learn how to live (but that will naturally happen as we read through the Bible together).
To meditate on the Word day and night. To draw near. To remain in Him.
To read the Bible as a spiritual discipline rather than to learn information (again, in this season).
Reading the Bible is not meant to be action-oriented. It's not meant to be a list of things to do to check a box and say that I read my Bible today.
Reading the Bible is about relationship.
When all this came to mind, I wondered if I was insane. Didn't all this go against what so many people have said? Was I hearing the enemy? Was I of sound mind about this? Were these thoughts sinful?
Am I lesser as a Christian because of these thoughts?
Then I realized that right now, this time (this season) of reading through the Bible will be in this way, in this manner. The next time I read through it, I will be able to go deeper, learn more, and study it more. This time, I just need to get it in me and wrap my head around it again. And use it as an act of worship. To use it as a way to draw near to the Lord and be with Him. To use it as a way to seek Him and do so first. To use the Bible reading as a way to have a deeper relationship with Him, as I draw near to Him in the Word, as we go through the Bible together. As I take His hand and He shows me through the Word.
I prayed about it, and still am as I write this blog post (which is what every blog post is on this JKSD blog is... a journal entry), and I talked with my husband (B) about it (the spiritual leader of our home and a man who knows the Bible). I knew B, my best friend and better half, would be frank with me about what I shared. He'd call me out on any boneheaded, faulty, or wrong thinking I had/have.
I realized then, as I told B about this, that this is how God wired me. That reading the Holy Bible as a means to draw near to Him, and listen 95% of the time and to talk to Him 5% of the time, has always been how I get the absolute most out of being in the Bible. That reading the Bible is first and foremost about seeking Him and being in relationship with Him.
B told me that Bible reading and study goes through seasons. That this is the season I am in with the Father. The just read the Bible and draw near to Him season. That who knows, that may change in the next chapter I read. I might want to study it thoroughly. He said to do what works. As long as I am reading the Bible systematically, am praying through as I do... That I listen to the Father... That I apply what I learn each day and meditate on the Word day and night... That I cannot go wrong... As long as I keep things in proper context.
I know to keep things in proper context, I need to read the Bible all the way through cover to cover. It's been a while.
So this is what I am doing. The just read the Bible and seek Him first through it season.
Now, I am far less frustrated.
What season are you in with Bible reading and study?