I love studying the Bible. As a pastor, you may think to yourselves, “duh.” But seriously, I LOVE it. But it wasn’t always that way for me.
I have always enjoyed reading my Bible, but truth be told, much of the time, I was going for quantity and not understanding. I was trying to memorize scripture and not foster deep compassion for each person I was reading about–hero or villain. I believe with all my heart that God reveals to us what we can handle and goes from there. I think the Bible is so intensely relevant, elegant, and meaningful that we could no more understand it at first reading as we could perform brain surgery after reading a textbook once through.
Every time I study the Bible, the Holy Spirit reveals something new. How is that even possible? How can you read something a dozen times or more and still get something so profound it stops you in your tracks? It’s like pages are added every time, though I know that didn’t happen. Leave it to God. He’s fantastic.
If you don’t have that experience yet, don’t fret, persevere and it will happen. Be willing and open to God, revealing more and more of Himself to you and be honest about where you see yourself in the pages of His word. I can see characteristics of myself in many of the people in the Bible. Unfortunately, not always the ones I’d like to. But, by allowing myself to acknowledge where I fall short, I can repent, ask forgiveness, and try again. God’s word encourages me because I can see where he gives us all a multitude of opportunities to get it right, still loves us when we mess up, and He never leaves us on our own to fend for ourselves.