The Bible is inexhaustible. This is something I know to be true, and hear often. I know it in my mind and in my heart, and yet I struggle to develop the habit-forming discipline of studying it regularly and with purpose. Blessed with years of Christian education, church life, and believing family and friends, I might even say that I have a pretty good knowledge of the Bible. But I know it’s lacking. I know there is so much more that I have yet to learn.
But unlocking that treasure can be difficult at times.
From past seasons of prolific Bible reading, the benefits and the closeness to God come to mind. Still, a certain de-sensitization to the Bible haunts me from time to time where I can’t help but feel that I’ve “been there, done that”, as if I have nothing else to learn. I know this is false, and I know I need to work harder, so I’m attempting a different strategy for personal study.
I love to read, and in particular, I love to read novels. I believe stories have tremendous power to teach, and the Bible is no exception. My education and Christian environment have taught me the central and sometimes complex doctrines of my faith, yet I frequently fail to grasp the wonder of the Bible story. There are themes and ideas and concepts that run through the individual narratives, making up the larger story. This I want to re-explore.
The Bible is not fiction, and I don’t intend to treat it that way – but it is a story. To look at it again with fresh eyes, I want to read it through, in that context, book by book and then write a review for each. By review, I don’t mean a critique, but rather a summary of what I’ve learned, or noticed, or rediscovered. My faith, upbringing and existing knowledge will no doubt colour and frame my reading and writing. I’m okay with that. I do not consider this to be a quest for a new world, but rather a taking stock of the one I live in, which will inevitably lead to greater appreciation, deeper understanding, fresh insights and revitalized familiarity.
I realize that it may seem odd to step away from close intense study to a more overview type of approach, when what I want to do is dig deeper. There will be a time and a place for that kind of study too, but this particular exercise will be different. In this strategy, I want to allow time to think. Incubation. Time to digest and chew on what I’ve read. Time to hold it up against the larger story and what I already believe about God and his word and his will. I want to leave room to pray and listen. And as I write I will test my thoughts, spend time trying to articulate them, and in a different way, dig deeper than ever before.
It’s unlikely I will uncover anything someone else hasn’t uncovered before me. I don’t even pretend that my personal thoughts will be original for others. It’s a personal journey first. But if you can learn something, or better yet, share something yourself, I make these posts public.