When The Bible doesn’t speak to you
Confession time: I’m having a hard time with my daily readings right now. I’m reading the Chronological Bible, and for the last few days I have been learning in intimate detail how to build a tabernacle. Hmmm.
I know that:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
But can we honestly agree that some portions of Scripture are more useful for this purpose than others. As I shared this sentiment with my wife, she told me that the last time she read through this section it was very rich for her, as she draw parallels from the celestial temple in Revelation. So, obviously, different sections hit people in different ways.
So what do you do in such a circumstance? My temptations are as follows:
- To read something else more interesting and immediately relevant, such as The Economist, or some time management or business book
- To skip to another part of the Scriptures that I know and enjoy more (Romans 8 for example)
- Not to read anything at all, and just get on with my day
Here’s what I’ve learned. It’s a good discipline to read through sections of Scripture that don’t immediately benefit us anyway. Here are some good reasons:
- We gain a greater depth of understanding of the cultural and historical background of our faith. Many Christians are just New Testament Christians, who have never really delved into the riches of the Old Testament, and are therefore deficient on their understanding of the sacrificial system (of which Jesus is the ultimate and perfect sacrifice), the heart of God against injustice expressed through the prophets, and more.
- We are actually learning to endure something that does not have an immediate benefit, and becoming more disciplined through persisting. Establishing a regular habit of reading the Scriptures is inherently good, even though you may not see an immediate application. I compare this to exercise and dieting. If you skip dessert and then go and weigh yourself, you won’t see an immediate difference. But skip 20 desserts and the scales will reveal what has changed. In the same way, we have to allow for the incremental working of Scripture and not expect immediate, relevant application every time we read. If you DO get that, then I can only say that God is blessing you in a way that he is not blessing me right now. Enjoy it. 🙂
- We are washing our mind with Scripture. We are engaging with the pure thoughts of God – and there is little else we could read that could benefit us in the same way, in helping us understand the way God sees this world, his creation, and especially us as the pinnacle of that creation.
I have to admit though, I do crave relevance. So on days when Scripture reading is not hitting the spot, I add to it. I usually find something helpful in reading A.W. Tozer or C.S. Lewis. There is a series of books called, “The Best of A.W. Tozer” and I also use “The Business of Heaven: Daily Readings from C.S. Lewis.” I’ve put links to them both below if you are interested.
Anyway, that’s all for now. I have to go and read about how to splatter blood on a altar or something. Stay in The Word my friends!
Glyn Norman is Lead Pastor of Central Christian Church in San Jose, and Author of:
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