Over the past few days I’ve just been off. I’ve honestly felt like a big ‘ole faker. I feel like I there are so many things I should be doing, but the biggest things that I should be doing more of is 1) Praying and 2) Reading my bible. How much are you supposed to pray and read your bible? More than I am now.
I talk to my church girls about the importance of prayer and being in the Word, but do I really mean it? And if I do believe that it’s so important, why aren’t I making it a priority? Come on Amanda!
That’s pretty much what I feel like God is doing.
But on a serious note, where do you begin when you don’t know where to start? Sure I have tons of bible studies, bookmarked blogs, unopened podcasts, even devotional emails delivered straight to me, but all of that is someone else’s filter on the Bible. And obviously I couldn’t start just reading the bible right? I mean, it’s way too big with too many big words and awkward names right? Maybe that is where I should start.
Recently I’ve been listening to Jen Wilken’s Podcast (look it up, its AMAZING!!) as white noise while I work, and she said something that made me stop and gasp. That women are illiterate when it comes to the Bible. Excuse me? I have had an above average reading level since forever. I am the epitome of being literate. But then when I actually listened to what she was saying- man my toes hurt. Her reasoning for using the term illiterate was because for all intents and purposes we are. You wouldn’t expect to learn Chemistry by opening up your Chem book and reading for 5 minutes every day (not to mention every week). If that’s how you tried to learn Chemistry, you would know less on the Final than you did on the first day of class! You would just be fooling yourself and wasting time on something that couldn’t possible help you. And yet, that’s how we approach bible study. Okay, maybe you don’t, but that’s definitely how I approach bible study. I’ve never read the minor prophets, the Old Testament doesn’t get much love, and when teaching, I tend to only stick with the “popular” stories. You know the ones, Daniel and the Lion’s Den, Noah and the Ark, Abraham, King David, etc.
So if I want to become literate when it comes to the Bible, where do I begin? Easy, at the beginning. I know, I know, creation is interesting, and some of Exodus, but then you get into Leviticus and all the rules, and then *gasp* Numbers. Not Numbers! Anything but Numbers! Maybe a little dramatic, but that’s how most of us feel when it comes to the Old Testament and specifically all of those “begat” chapters.
Now comes the tricky part, I have to start at the beginning right? Genesis 1, but then do I just read it as a book straight through, do I read it chapter by chapter, what do I do?!?!
I am of the opinion that God chose the authors and the audiences for a reason. Yes every book in the Bible has an application for today, but to truly understand that application we must start at 1) When the book was written, 2) who wrote the book, 3) Who was the book written for/to and 4) What was going on in History during the time it was written.
Fun fact: I just learned last week that Jeremiah and Daniel lived during the same time period (ish). I had no idea! I was studying Daniel for my girls class and that happened to be in my commentary, so I researched it. How cool is that?!
All of this to say we need each others help. It is so hard to stay consistent in anything if you don’t have someone checking in on your every now and then. I want to challenge you, dear heart, to start at the beginning and the read the Bible for what it is, the Bible. I’m challenging myself too here, don’t worry. But I also want to challenge you to be intentional with your relationships. Ask the hard questions. Forget “how was your day” and instead ask “How’s your relationship with Jesus this week?”. Make a point to encourage each other and intercede for one another in prayer.
After all, we are all in this fight together, might as well start working together.