What? Seriously? That’s right, you can read the Bible all day long and still be a jerk. But wasn’t Jesus the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14)? That’s true, but in my opinion, what’s even more amazing than the Word of God is the fact that God gave us a free will to choose to read the Word of God from our hearts rather than to simply get head knowledge.
I know of a lot of people who have a really messed up perspective of God, and they read the Bible with those unclear lenses. It doesn’t impress me when people read the Bible all day long. It doesn’t impress me if people can teach a Bible study to hundreds of people. What really catches my attention is a person who not only reads the Bible, but they actually allow the Bible to transform the way they think.
The Bible is not merely meant to be read as teaching material for a Bible study. The Bible is not something we memorize in Sunday school so that we can show off to all our friends and brag about how many verses we know. We can know all the verses in the world in our heads, but if we don’t know them in our hearts, we don’t know anything.
The change that happens when we read the Bible doesn’t come from the words on the pages, but it comes from allowing that truth to sink into our hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:6 says that the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. In Jesus’ days, the Pharisees were rebuked multiple times for placing a greater value on knowing Bible verses over loving people with the love of Jesus.
In 2012, I decided to read the entire Bible from cover to cover. I didn’t do that because I wanted to be super Holy or to try and impress people, but I did it because God told me to. I wanted to know the heart of God. I wanted to know how He thinks and feels so that I could develop a deeper relationship with Him.
The reason the Bible gives us so many rules isn’t so that we can judge other people whenever they break the rules, it’s so that we can stay focus on what He’s created us for without being distracted by things that could destroy us.
The only time we are to judge people is when we correct their actions, as brothers and sisters in Christ, so that they can stay on the right track and not screw up their lives. The change that happens when you read the Bible doesn’t come from the Bible itself. It comes from you.
The Bible has been read as a fairy tale book to children before they go to bed, it’s been read as a punishment for people who don’t follow certain rules, it’s been read by people solely as Bible study material to teach other people the Bible without applying those truths to themselves, etc. But at the end of the day, the Bible is a love letter from God to us above anything else.
When we read the Bible as a love letter rather than reading it for recognition, for a promotion, or to solely teach somebody something, that’s when we truly become transformed by the love of God. When we preach and teach the Bible from our hearts rather than from our heads, that’s when the love of Jesus becomes evident in and through us.
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