By Nikki Dabney
Imagine you’re married, and your husband as never told you about his life before he met you. Sure, his friends and family tell you stories about him here and there, but he’s never told you his story. Or really, you’ve never bothered to ask.
This is how our relationship with God is when we neglect to read His Word. We talk to Him everyday and connect with Him in the present, and our pastors tell us stories about His past, but we never take the time to know His Story.
The Bible is a story. It’s a story about God.
So often we think the Bible is for and about us. But it’s His story, and digging into Scripture is how we know Him.
How do you know you’re worshipping the God of the Bible? By reading it. Otherwise, you end up worshipping a god of your own creation. You take a little bit of the stories you’ve heard from others who know Him, you mix in what your earthly father is like, you take some of what pop culture says (when did Jesus start getting depicted as a white man…?), and then you throw in what you think God should be like (i.e. fair).
The better we know His Word, the better we can discern His voice and know when we “hear” from God, because He would not tell us anything contrary to Scripture.
It’s important to know the Big Story of the Bible, rather than just scattered stories, Philippians 4:13, and Jeremiah 29:11. The metanarrative of the Bible is creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. When you understand the Big Story, you can understand any portion of Scripture you’re reading in light of it. This is known as Bible literacy. Our approach to reading Scripture should build literacy, not fragmentary knowledge.
Why should you NOT read the Bible? To evoke a feeling. As women, we are emotionally driven, and we often read Scripture for an emotional experience, to feel close to God. But what happens when we read a tough portion of Scripture where God is not all marshmallows and gummy bears? We need to see God for who He is, not create a theology based on our personal experience with Him.
We don’t read Scripture to be more like Ruth and less like Eve; we read to know the God they knew. To see the way God related to His people and dwelt among them.
The heart cannot love what the mind does not know. Let’s know Him so that we might grow in our love for Him.
Friends, this is not about feeling inadequate about a lack of biblical knowledge. We will not achieve complete Bible literacy until our glorification in Heaven. But the beauty of it is we get to spend the rest of our lives exploring, knowing, and loving God.
“The Bible wants to reveal a mosaic of the majesty of God one passage at a time, one day at a time, across a lifetime. By all means, bring eagerness to your study time. Yes, bring hunger. But certainly, bring patience – come ready to study for the long term.” Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin, pg. 75