Monday, January 13, 2014

Enjoy your Bible

‘Enjoy your Bible’ has been my motto for various Bible studies over the years. This is a problem for any who have not believed God, or have not yet received Jesus Christ as  Lord and Saviour. For those who sincerely believe, the Bible is God’s communication for instruction and ‘enjoyment’.  One apostle wrote “these things I write unto you that your joy may be full!”

             Fortunately we have the Bible in a language we can understand. The history recorded in the Bible is interesting, but much more interesting when we observe God at work – at work in creation, involved in people’s lives, communicating laws and social order so old yet so up to date, unveiling His character of holiness and grace etc etc.  Our lives can be distinctly blessed as we watch how others acted, reacted and worshiped in life.             The song book of the Bible (Psalms) is full of real life emotions and spiritual aspirations. Threaded through all these Old Testament writings are the repeated promises of the coming Messiah.  One prophet actually predicted the town where Jesus the Messiah was to be born!  For us surveying history from our vantage point, it is quite thrilling to see Old Testament predictions happening just as foretold.

        So when we read through to the New Testament we can enthusiastically watch the story of Jesus fulfilling these prophecies as well as see Him as the new lawgiver giving new standards, new challenges, new mission, new hope etc.
       The record of Jesus’s death puzzles many people. When we again see it as God being at work  (Acts 2), then our souls rejoice that God has done so much for us, so much that we could never achieve in our own wisdom or strength.
       There is the challenge of living a new kind of life by the Holy Spirit. This is to be a life of victory ( not easy, but possible ) In these scriptures we can listen to the Lord Jesus present His many promises, His many prophecies etc. Not only does this bring purpose for living, but also hope for the future.

        Some people read the Bible with a critical mind, or doubting mind or expecting to understand everything. Well if you can explain all of science on the first year of your university course, you may well expect to understand all the Bible too. No, it is a book from an infinite God who has chosen to reveal Himself in varying ways and times. Let us take the humble place of learners in the school of God. He is well able to teach us to ‘enjoy’ His word if we let Him.

 Some hints to reading the Bible:
Parts you don’t understand, pencil in a question mark and go on.
Sections that seem extreme or unfair, wait for the sections of the Bible that explain the detail.
Remember God is God, and we are learning children.
Puzzling commandments or expectations – is it addressed to me , or does it belong to a particular time and place and people?
Promises – considering the context, these are intended to increase our faith in God.
Prophecies – many have already been fulfilled, but others are yet to be fulfilled and these give us hope for the future.

Above all else, be watchful all the way through, for direct or indirect references to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Bibe’s supreme theme and as He becomes clearer in our understanding, we will quietly worship ( or maybe burst into praise.). When you find yourself reading for the joy of finding  Christ in the Bible, you enjoy true communion with God!  He said “This is my beloved Son, hear Him!”

Enjoy your Bible!

J. McKee  Comments welcome

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