At the center of the Christian faith is the Bible. The Bible is God’s word. It is the collection of God’s revelation of himself, his plan, and this world to his family since the beginning of time. No wonder it is so important to Christians! We can easily view the Bible and God in such a way, that when we go to read God’s word, well, we do not get anything out of it. We think that we are so messed up that we are beyond redemption, that God could not possibly love us. Or, we think incorrectly of God, that he is “the big guy up there” – too distant to really interact with us. But both ideas are totally wrong.
Just consider the Father from the parable of the prodigal son, Jepthah, or Jesus encountering the adulterous woman. God promises to meet us in his word, to speak to us, and to guide us, and with the distractions, trials, and storms of life, that is not always easy for us to discern what we desperately need to hear. Tim Keller, a pastor from NYC, suggests 5 questions to ask yourself as you read a text:
- How has this text inspired me to praise God? The story is about God, and every story shouts his name through descriptions or his actions.
- How has this text convicted me? In other words, what sins in my life has this text brought to the surface of my mind? Our minds and hearts deceive us, and we need God’s word to speak into our lives so we can see things clearly.
- If this is really true, what wrong behavior, what harmful emotions or false attitudes result in me when I forget this? Every problem is because you have forgotten something. What problems are you facing?
- What should I be aspiring to on the basis of this text? We are not who we are meant to be, and God is at work in us so that we will be what we are meant to be.
- Why are you telling me this today? God has a purpose for us to read what we do. Nothing happens by accident.
Use these questions for you to step into the text. God’s word is for us just as much as it was for Moses, David, and Paul.