Scripture Reading

Debbie Bryant

Scripture Reading

Read the Word.

Writing this post turned out to be harder than I thought it would be. I’ve been reading the Bible for years, but it’s such a huge, rich, and deep topic, the more I got into it, the more I wrote, the more I realized how much I still have to learn. I knew I couldn’t do it justice. How could I capture the importance – or gift – of it? How could I possibly narrow it down to fit in a blog? What did the Lord even want me to write?

Then one morning while I was talking with Jesus about how I was feeling, he suddenly spoke to me, and just like that, I knew he wanted me to write a little of my story.

No, it wasn’t audible. But it was thoughts I hadn’t had, that came out of “nowhere” while I was in the midst of pouring out my heart to God. How do I know it was him? 

When you practice listening to someone, you get to know their voice. 

I grew up in a family that loved Jesus. We went to a Bible-believing church. They had their flaws and imperfect people, just as any church does, but they knew their Bibles. They understood how vital knowing God’s Word is to knowing God, that you can’t separate them. I also very much benefited from my parents’ faith and my mother’s many years of faithful prayers.

At some point, while I was twelve years old, I became convinced that I needed to read the Bible and pray every day. As I consider my reasons for intentionally creating this habit, I admit that some of it was self-serving. Yes, I was truly grateful for what he had done for me, and I really did want to get to know him, but I also wanted the wisdom he promised would lead to a successful life, and I wanted to live under the protection he promised to give if I would put him first. In my young mind, the story of King Solomon, the wisest and wealthiest person to ever live, was tantalizing. God had told him to ask for anything he wanted, and because he chose to ask for wisdom to lead God’s people over a selfish desire like wealth, God gave him both in abundance. I figured that was a pretty great deal! So I started praying for and pursuing wisdom. I didn’t have the theology of those sentiments worked out, but they were all what drove me to open my Bible every day.

My daily reading started with a little booklet I had seen my grandfather read that had a verse, an application paragraph, and a short prayer for each day. After a while, that led to finding verses to help me with whatever I was facing or feeling. My Bible at that time had a small topical concordance that was user friendly because it had entire verses reprinted. It only had a few of the best verses for each heading, but it was broad enough that I grew to love it. I found so much comfort and hope in those verses. They would come to mind in the midst of a difficult situation at school or with friends, and I would feel a reassurance that I could get through it, or peace about what to do. Although I began to add books of the Bible to work through, I used that concordance for years.

The daily habit of reading made it natural to also pray. 

It made me want to talk to Jesus. I was getting to know him, how he acted, how he looked at people, how he loved. It made me want to imitate him. It’s amazing to me how God used that simple commitment to develop in me a real love for him. It wasn’t my parents’ religion anymore. Jesus was mine. He became more important to me than just about anything else. When I learned that we can actually grieve his Spirit, I didn’t want to do anything that would hurt him. 

It was this love that he developed in me — this love that made me want to obey him — that made a huge difference in my young life. It changed what I wanted and protected me from a lot of painful choices. 

As a teen, I was definitely not perfect, but being in the Word of God every day saved me from making the kinds of mistakes that would really hurt me or others long term. I saw his laws as protective, not restricting. I don’t have the regrets and wounds that are commonly formed in high school and college because I experienced the unique protection that comes from staying in the will of God. Please hear me though – I can’t take any credit. It was God. 

All of it was only possible because God was alive in me. I made the simple decision to read the Bible. He is the one that did the work.

I have also gone through seasons where I’ve fallen out of the habit. Then, either the Lord would draw me back, or I’d make such a mess of things without his input that I’d come running back. 

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing of soul and of spirit, of joist and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 “Living and active”. Yes, that has been my experience, but there’s more to it than that. There is a reason his words are both living and active.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:1-5

Jesus is the Word incarnate — he was with God, being God, and being the very part of God that created and sustains life.

He says in John 14:7,9 “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him….Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”

God = Jesus = the Word, all delivered by the Holy Spirit. 

Just as God is the trinity — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God’s words carry wisdom (points to the Father), life (points to Jesus), and power (points to the Holy Spirit). When you get the words of God into you, “Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19). He literally transforms our minds (Romans 12:2) through his Word and Spirit in us and makes us look more like him as his light shines through us more and more.

“And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:18-19