Reading the Bible With our Hearts and Minds

When I wasn’t a Christian, I used to think the Bible was a “how to guide to life.”  It was basically a manual of how to live life.  That if I’m stressed, I’ll read a Psalm.  If I feel anxious, I’ll look at verses speaking to that.  I never read from the Old Testament because “it didn’t make sense.”  I’m not saying that is wrong, because it was good I was in the Word of God…but I wasn’t really understanding the Bible.  As I grow in my faith, I see how everything in the Bible is connected!

I started to read this book “Women of the Word”–how to study the Bible with both our hearts and our minds.  I wanted to share what I read today because it spoke volumes!

Looking at Moses in Exodus 3 and the Burning Bush:

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[b] will worship God on this mountain.”

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[c] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,[d] the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.”

“Moses asks “who am I?  What should I do?”  God responds by completely removing Moses from the subject of discussion and inserting himself.  He answers Moses’s self-focused question of “Who am I?” with the only answer that matters: “I am.”

We are like Moses. The Bible is our burning bush–a faithful declaration of the presence and holiness of God.  We ask it to tell us about ourselves, and all the while it is tell us about “I am.”  We think that if it would just tell us who we are and what we should do, then our insecurities, fears, and doubts would vanish.  But our insecurities, fears, and doubts can never be banished by the knowledge of who we are.  They can only be banished by the knowledge of “I am.”  We must read and study the Bible with our ears trained on hearing God’s declaration of Himself.

The knowledge of God and the knowledge of self always go hand in hand.  In fact, there can be no true knowledge of self apart from the knowledge of God.  So when I read that God is long suffering, I realize I am not long suffering.  When I read that God is slow to anger, I realize that I am quick to anger. Seeing who he is shows me who I am in a true light.”–“Women of the Word” by Jen Wilken

I can get caught up into this and read the Bible with a Me-centered focus, instead of a God-centered focus.  I start sounding like Moses saying “who am I God? Answer my question.”  Where God is speaking “I am.”  then get frustrated that “the Bible isn’t helping.”  When I humble myself and confess my pride of wanting to be in control, that is where God can soften my heart and open my mind to see Him!

When we see ourselves in relation to God, we realize how much we need Him every single day.  The beauty is even if we have not read with a God-centered focus, it’s never too late to start.  The Good News of the Gospel is God sent His only Son to die for our sins so we would have eternal life.  That our doubts, fears, insecurities can be banished by knowing God deeply and intimately.  The world tells us, if we know ourselves better, insecurities would go away.  But the truth of the Gospel is insecurities go away by knowing God!!

I pray we would be people who would read the Bible with both our hearts and mind.  That would be people not just content with checking off our to-do quiet time everyday, but would let scripture transform our life in word and deed.

Be encouraged today!

Trudy Woodward
Lydia House Director

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