Do you see the Bible as…
old? Outdated. Nothing to say about Snapchat, dating, Geometry, or
difficult? It’s a HUGE book. And it was written before Shakespeare. Not exactly easy reading.
work? It’s like Math homework or sit-ups. You need to do work to be okay
rules? Do this. Don’t do that. Treat people this way. We usually don’t get excited about rules.
If that’s the way we see it, why would anyone want to read it? But what if we’re missing something?
There’s an amazing moment in Jesus’ life that’s recorded in the New Testament in the book of Matthew. He talks about a time when Jesus went into the desert and was tempted. Here’s what it says: Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. (Matthew 4:1-2)
When I read this, I wasn’t totally sure what or how the whole “tempted by the devil” thing went down. But here’s one thing I’m sure about: Jesus went forty days without food! That’s about 39.5 more than I would be happy about. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” (Matthew 4:3) The key here is to understand that the tempter was trying to get Jesus to sin by getting Him to rely on His own strength and power rather than God’s. We could dive into that a lot more. In fact, we could spend weeks looking at the reasons behind it. But today, I don’t want you to miss Jesus’ response. Because, in it, you get an idea of what the Word of God is like.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4) You could also say, man shall not live by steak alone. Or Taco Bell alone. Or Lucky Charms alone. Or chocolate alone. Wow. Basically, Jesus is saying that God’s word is better than food!
When I hear that, I want to say, “Hang on a minute. Really? I mean, the Bible is better than carbs? Better than a blizzard from Dairy Queen? Better than Wendy’s French fries dipped in Frosty? Better than a taco made out of Doritos?”
Most of the time, we don’t feel that way. We feel like the Bible is just something to get through. Something to check off our list. Do you really think of it as better than food? For Jesus to talk about God’s word like that when He hadn’t eaten in more than a month makes me think that He must have known something we don’t.
The Bible isn’t supposed to be a burden that’s a pain to read. It’s not meant to be impossible to understand. It was given to be a blessing. To make us wise in our choices and smarter in our decisions. It was intended to bring joy and life into our hearts and to restore us when tough times come our way.
That’s how Jesus invites you to think about the Bible. He’s going, “If you only knew!”
As long as we think of the Bible as something old, difficult, work-related, or filled with rules, we’re going to miss out on all that it can be and was meant to be.
We read the word for blessing, but also to be able to hear God’s voice. In order to follow Jesus, you must know his voice. To know his voice, you must know his words. To know his words, you must read the Bible. That’s the first step.
Second, I’d encourage you to find a starting point. I suggest Psalms, Proverbs, John, or Philippians. Get someone to help you make sure you’re reading a version you can understand. There are some versions that are confusing because they’re translated using big words.
Once you’re ready to read, here’s what you can do next. It’s super simple…
Read until you find a verse that sticks out to you. Keep going until you bump into something that’s helpful to you (or shows you more about God).
Think about it. Ask yourself, “What does this tell me about God?’ “What does this tell me about me?“ “What does this tell me about everyone else?”
The truth is, You only have to read your Bible until you want to.
When I was younger, I had no idea that the Bible could mean so much. But then one day, I just tried it. And over time, the Bible has changed my life and made God more alive and real to me than ever before. The Bible made my life better, and I’m convinced that it can make yours better, too.