Last month I wrote about being more diligent against laziness in my life (read about that here). Part of what that means for me is regularly and intentionally reading my bible in the mornings. Many mornings my children will rise before I’m done–and sometimes before I’ve even started–but I press on. I occasionally read the same passages two days in a row if my children have interrupted the previous days’ reading enough that I didn’t retain much of what I read. However, I am glad that they see me immersed in the Word, and I pray that the seed that is planted from these early mornings will sprout and grow as they grow.
I chose to begin my bible reading right at the beginning. I purchased a devotional bible that has a short devotional every few pages, and I try to read one devotional each day as well as the scriptures in between. If I miss a day, I don’t get upset; after all, I need to give myself grace occasionally. However, I put it in my mind each night that I will wake up in time to get my bible reading in.
In the Beginning
When I set out on this endeavor I had given it quite a bit of thought. For some time, I had felt that I needed to find a way to get more Bible into my life. I do well with doing Bible lessons and memory work with our children, but for myself my discipline was lacking. Then one day it hit me. If someone questioned my faith, would I be able to stand up for it? If one of my friends or family members asked about certain questionable passages that throw us all for a loop, would I understand what it means or know the appropriate response?
A resounding NO was in my mind. Because I grew up in the church, I know no other way. And yet I did not have the knowledge to back up my faith. I attended a Christian college and yet my studies there still did not equip me to defend my faith.
I knew at that moment I was not going to pass through another day without equipping myself with the knowledge to defend my faith. That meant asking a lot of hard, uncomfortable questions. It meant putting my faith in God that whatever answers I discovered would not invoke fear in me but understanding and acceptance. During my younger years I always felt that a person had to be a bible scholar to be able to understand the deeper meanings in the passages of the Bible. Time and maturity has allowed me to see that through reading quality resources and prayer for wisdom, a simple Christian like myself can understand the words written in the sacred texts.
And so I set out to read through the scriptures as best I could through the eyes of an unbeliever. Based on my upbringing, it would not be possible for me to be 100% unbiased. However I can read the passages without assuming the “goodness” behind the words. It has allowed me to ask questions that I hadn’t recognized before. I have been able to allow my emotions to be unguarded.
In reading through the scriptures I’ve found myself feeling pity for some and something bordering on disgust for others. I’ve been able to see the stories in a different light. I’ve seen the Israelites through the eyes of a parent with whining and disobedient children. But I’ve also been able to ask hard questions about questionable morals and living situations. It’s allowed me freedom to recognize the imperfections of the people and still accept them as part of God’s plan. It’s taught me more about my lack of grace than any other single lesson in my life.
I still have a long way to go to get through the Bible, but I’m happy to say I’m in no hurry. Some chapters and entire books are difficult to get through because of lengthy lineage or repetitive language. Nevertheless, I have read each one. Looking at the passages as building blocks to my faith brings a whole new meaning to the words. Even greater than that is the freedom to allow myself to question anything I come upon that doesn’t seem to fit. While some questions are yet unanswered, I am blessed with many knowledgeable people and an abundance of resources to call upon.
Have you ever had your faith challenged?
Were you able to adequately defend it?
Please share with me the ways you expand your knowledge and understanding of God’s word.
Be encouraged by these posts as well!