Raise your hand if you’ve fallen asleep reading the Bible. I have!
Raise your hand if you’ve been confused by the Bible. I have!
Raise your hand if you’ve given up on your Bible Reading Plan two months in because you get to Leviticus and Deuteronomy and you have no idea what’s going on anymore. I totally have!
Well, I’m not here to necessarily “fix” your Bible reading woes, but to offer a different perspective when reading the Bible. Just like reading any other book, you want to engage your imagination, heart, and soul. I truly believe that the Bible is God’s Word and that it is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). So for me, I’ve developed a discipline of asking myself some key questions to draw meaning from my Bible reading.
If you’re on a Bible Reading Plan (chronological, topical, or other daily devotions), accompany your reading with time for journaling.
If you’re following my Bible Writing Plan (or another writing plan), you can use this same technique because you’re reading as you’re writing. And since you already have a journal that you’re writing in, you can use these questions to guide you in your journaling time.
There are many great ways to approach the Bible and questions to ask. For me, it boils down to three questions:
- What does this passage say about God?
- How does this passage point or relate to the redemptive story of Jesus?
- What is God saying to me?
I’ll demonstrate by using one of the Bible Writing Plan passages from this week, 2 Corinthians 2:5-8.
Forgive the Sinner
5 Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. 6 For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, 7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.
My response and reflection based on the three questions:
This passage reflects the forgiving nature of God. Just as He is slow to anger, quick to forgive, and remembers them no more, Paul is exhorting the Corinthians to also forgive, comfort, and reaffirm. It shows how God wants His people to live in harmony.
This passage relates to the redemptive story of Jesus because only through His sacrifice do we understand what forgiveness is. Because of His death and resurrection, we are all saved by the same grace. No one person is greater or worse than the next because we are all sinners.
I think God is pointing out someone in my life that I may still hold a grudge against. Someone that I may have forgiven, but haven’t comforted or reaffirmed (v 7-8). I think the goal of every relationship is to be reconciled no matter what circumstances or conflicts may arise. I would hate to be on the other side, to not be forgiven, and to be “overwhelmed by excessive sorrow”. Lord, please open my heart to those in my life whom I need to forgive, comfort, and reaffirm my love in them. Just as I have been saved by grace, soften my heart to do the same to others.
How do you reflect on your Bible reading? What kinds of questions do you ask yourself to better understand and apply it to your life?