I Read the Bible, Study it, and Await the Final Exam!
I am passionate about reading the Bible, but I haven’t always been that way. At first, starting this relationship with Jesus and thinking of everything I didn’t know about God was overwhelming for me. For the first time in my life, I wanted to have all of my questions answered. So, I was finally ready to read the Bible.
The first time I decided to read the Bible through in a year, I read it from cover to cover. I learned so much, but I still had many questions. After tackling the task in a year, I was still hungry for God’s Word. I soon joined my first Bible study and noticed a couple who always seemed to have the answers and seemed to be very educated about the Bible. They had my attention as I listened and learned from them—until I couldn’t stand it anymore and asked them how long it had taken them to understand the Bible. They simply replied that they read the margins in their study Bible.
I thought, It can’t be that easy! A cheater Bible exists? I saved my money, and a study Bible was my next purchase.
I invested in a New International Version (NIV) Life Applications Study Bible. As I studied, God’s lessons came to life for me. My mind was blown as God showed me the way. The confusion disappeared, and the scales fell away from my eyes as I read and studied the Word of God. Figuratively speaking, the scales falling away meant that my eyes had been opened by God as He revealed His truths to me through His Word. I finally understood who He was. I had many questions while reading, and with the previous verse and the study notes following, I could understand the Bible much better.
Later on, I began researching different ways to read through the Bible in a year, and a friend who knew I was searching gave me a Life Journal. This journal contained daily readings combining both the Old and the New Testaments. The Life Journal also taught a unique way to journal through Scripture, how to observe the Scripture, how to apply it to your life, and how to pray about it. I am a slow reader, so I needed twenty minutes a day to read through the Bible in a year. As I gained a deeper understanding of the Bible from my reading, my world absolutely opened up when I learned how to apply Scripture to my daily life.
Reading the Bible this way was so life-changing for me, I knew I wanted to share it with others, so I created the Jesus Freak Life Journal (available in my online store).
The second year that I read through the Bible completely, I used the study Bible and the Life Journal. This year is when I learned the most about God, and it all came together for me. As I continued to read the Word of God daily, He completely captured my heart. I was in awe of His promises and everything that He did for me before I ever came to be. For the last ten-plus years, I’ve read through the Bible every year using the Life Journal. I found it to be an amazing, life-changing tool!
Continuing to read the Bible, seeking God and trusting Him in my times of anguish through the last ten-plus years is probably how I grew so close to Him. Our relationship deepened more as Jesus began to shape me through my time spent with Him in prayer and daily Bible reading. He has gently and lovingly taught me how to be, how to love others, and how to be at peace with the unknown. God replaced the things I called myself with His truths about me. In my head, I had always been a failure, ashamed, stupid and undeserving, but God called me loved, beautiful, precious, and perfect. As I read His Word, He changed my thoughts and my words about myself because I realized He cared for me. He also revealed my gifts to me.
I learned more and more about Jesus by first deciding to read through the Bible each year. Falling deeply in love with Jesus was a culmination of listening to sermons at my new church, K-LOVE Christian radio station, continuing to read my Bible faithfully and praying daily. But getting close to Jesus didn’t happen overnight.
The first time I sat down to read the Bible, twenty minutes felt like twenty years. I couldn’t pronounce any of the names in the Bible nor did I know where any of the locations were at on a map. As I continued to read each day, God met me and guided me. He slowly captured my heart. Little by little my faith grew as my commitment and devotion to God deepened. I would get up really early in the morning to make time for God, so I didn’t miss my time with Him. I am at my best in the morning, and since I wanted to give God my best, we spent a scheduled twenty minutes together.
The twenty minutes that once felt like twenty years now felt like twenty days, but I still read diligently. As time went on, the twenty minutes begin to only feel like twenty hours. One day twenty minutes wasn’t long enough! I found additional pockets of time to schedule for Bible reading as well as time to pray and have a chat with God.
I was in love! God had captured my heart, guided and cared for me in a way like none other. A supernatural, unconditional type of godly love was what I was given from my dedication of meeting God. I need more words here, but I know of none that are good enough to completely capture the awe-inspiring God who meets me daily in His Word.
This very same God can meet you too! Schedule the time—even if you’re already stretched thin. Pull tighter and fit God in. I promise you won’t regret it. The Bible says in Hebrews 4:12 (NIV), “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.” Allow the Word of God to open your hardened heart, heal it, and fill it will indescribable joy.
Will you meet with Him daily in the Word? Try it, I double dog dare ya!