“…A voice in your head may be whispering [a] lie about Scripture: it’s boring. In all honesty, there was a time when I would have said the same. But once I made a commitment to read it and study it, the words became life to me. The reason I thought it was boring was pretty simple: I didn’t understand it.” -Angie Smith, Seamless
I grew up learning Bible stories in Sunday school, and regularly attended church service, but to be completely honest, as much of a blessing as that is, it is this breed of Christian that is most at risk of becoming apathetic readers of the Bible.
I was a freshman in college studying the Old Testament for one of my Bible classes. At this point, I did have an appreciation for God’s written Word, hence why I was pursuing a ministry degree, but I didn’t love reading the Bible. There was still many disconnected pieces, and it didn’t seem to fit together. Then one day, it clicked. It must have been something I read, or several things I read that day in my text books, but God opened my eyes to the Word like never before.
I realized for the first time how connected all these stories were. They are not just a collection of random stories, but they are one story, strung together with a constant theme: God’s revelation to man.
The Old Testament once seemed daunting and irrelevant. But after prayerfully studying the stories, the characters, the order of events, I saw that this was far from true. The Bible tells us a story, a very important one. It tells us about who God is, and why we are here. We see how He cherishes His people, despite their sinful nature, and eventually how He comes to earth in the flesh, and pays the penalty of our sins. My sins.
Tears flowed down from my cheeks and onto the shiny pages of my text book. Having just come out of a very dark time in my life, I knew what sin was and how ugly and painful the repercussions were. I had always heard that Jesus came and died on the cross for my sins, but never reverenced this truth. Until you understand the weight of what sin is, and the extent that God went through to bring about your salvation, it will always just be a story to you.
“Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isa. 53:4-5 NIV)
It is not just a story. It is life or death. These are not just feel good stories we tell our children, or recite during the holidays. This is history! Yet, simultaneously, it is active and filled with hopeful messages for the modern reader.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12 NIV)
If you think the Bible is boring, it’s because you don’t understand it.
Friends, connecting the dots is not just helpful—it’s essential. Without thoroughly studying and understanding these stories, we not only lose opportunities to hear from God, but we also leave room for skewed perspectives of who God is, and what His role is in our lives.
I encourage you to open your Bible and not just read it, but study it. Ask questions, read commentaries, use additional tools and resources to help you put the pieces together. It’ll change your life!
A solid understanding of God’s Word doesn’t happen over night. It takes years and years of patience, and constant study. Even then, I think some portions will always remain mysterious. I am learning from it every day, and I encourage you to delve in also, and see for yourself how wonderful this story is that we get to take part in.
Getting started can be the hardest part. A good place to start is the Psalms or the New Testament. But I encourage you to be brave and venture deeper into its pages, and discover more thoroughly how Scripture is strung together. There are many great resources out there to help you dive deeper. The textbook I read freshman year that helped me connect the dots was Survey of the Old Testament. Below are a couple of Bible studies I found very insightful, and teach you how to navigate the Scripture.
My prayer is that we would refrain from becoming apathetic readers of the Bible, and instead, fall in love with the most beautiful story of all time.