The Bible discusses many topics, from our human limitations and weaknesses, to the nature of life, to the sublime magnificence of our God. Much more than a descriptive list of facts, Scripture hints at the truth of things – the essence and purpose of God’s creation – the things that are real beyond our human interpretation and perception.
I read Scripture because I want to understand who God is, and what He wants of me. I don’t fully understand all of the Bible, but I have been finding God as I linger in it. Perhaps the way I connect with God in His Word can work for you, too, if you’re struggling to connect.
Why Read God’s Word
It’s frustrating that we can’t fully understand all that we read in the Bible, for numerous reasons. We often bring our subjective lens to the text, which can change the intended meaning. Or we take the text out of context, and end up making wrong assumptions. But it’s often because we hurriedly skim as we read, rather than taking the time to ponder, because we want to check “Read Bible” off our busy daily to-do list.
We can fix these issues. But a bigger reason we can feel a disconnect with the Bible is because we lack God’s knowledge and perspective. Which can make reading the Bible feel like work. But God repeatedly tells us to dive into His Word, with delight, because we need its knowledge to have a firm understanding of what Christianity is all about.
First, Scripture tells us who God is. Second, the Bible tells us who we are — and why Christ selflessly chose to die for us on the cross. God’s Word gives us peace, which we need in a world that feels increasingly anxious. As 1 Corinthians 13:12 reminds us, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
Finding God in Scripture is for our benefit. So how can we best grasp God’s truths? There’s no right way. But what I do know: “Get in, get out” doesn’t work with the Bible. Finding God requires that we build the habit of lingering with Him to really know Him.
Finding God As I Linger
God chose to give me an engineer’s mind. That means that I approach any task or problem from numerous angles, with various methods, as I seek out the best solution.
So when I read the Bible, my logical brain kicks into overdrive. I don’t read just one translation, but many translations — which I compare! I also research words in Hebrew or Greek, to better understand subtleties and nuances in the original text. I also read commentaries, just to learn what respected theologians think. Like I said, I’m a geek! And I know I have a lot to learn.
But I can be so analytical and methodical in my approach that I often miss the overall message. It’s like observing a painting with such focused scrutiny, that I can only see the brushstrokes and blobs of paint, not the subject matter.
Especially if I read the words silently in my head. My geeky brain not only filters out the overall theme, but much of the poetry and beauty of the words. Or my thoughts wander, or the words knock around in my head, without making sense.
So here’s what I do: I read Scripture out loud. It’s as if, in the timbre and nuances of my voice, the poignant request of my yearning heart for God amplifies. I feel an emotional connection with God, and am able to fully focus on what He wants me to learn.
As I speak His Word aloud, God’s presence pierces my heart with a deep assurance and certainty. Not a logical certainty, not anything I can put into words or grasp with my mind, but certain nonetheless — fair and true and deeply wonderful. I am seen. I am loved. I am known.
My soul opens, and I am able to catch incandescent glimpses of our God’s magnificence. My tears of joy are the truest response of my heart’s overflowing gratitude. I am blown away that the Creator of the universe wants to be known by me!
See If It Works For You
So, that’s my daily practice, if you want to give it a try. As you read God’s Word aloud, imagine that you hear Him speaking. Read slowly. Savor the words. Emotionally connect with the message. There is always something that God wants to reveal to us, when we give Him our pause to do so.
We discern the ineffable beauty of God more with our open and surrendered hearts than we do with our logical minds. Finding God becomes a sacred event when we get in His Word and allow Him to connect with us. It doesn’t matter that we don’t understand everything in it. Our walk with God is about our journey, not just our destination.
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