Wednesday, November 18, 2009

the Bible and joy

I love the Bible. It's the honey on my tongue and the fire in my belly and the sword in my hand and the joy in my step.

I love reading it on those dull days when I'd rather pick up a novel, and watching it works its magic in spite of me. I love memorising passages, and seeing God's Spirit bring them to mind exactly when they're needed. I love nutting out difficult verses, and realising they're nutting out me.

Of course, there are mornings when the newspaper wins the reading contest. There are days - sometimes months! - that pass by without much Bible. There are plenty of moments when the words drift through my eyes and spiral straight out the top of my head. There are times when the words on the page don't touch the way I'm feeling.

But God's Word changes me even when I'm not noticing. It nourishes me even when I don't feel it. It gives me what I need even when I'm hoping for something else. It helps me see the glory of Christ and transforms me by the seeing until he is, at last, my highest joy:

God has chosen in this age to reveal himself to the world mainly through the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, by means of the written Word, the Bible ... It may take the Word of God to show us what we really need, and then to give us the power to get it. In the end what we really need is Christ. (pp.96, 100)

So how do we read the Bible? How do we keep reading the Bible? The best advice I've ever received is Piper's: plan how, plan when, plan where. If this sounds like legalism to you, Piper's The joy of duty will set you right - and The Quiet Time Performance will remind you to stay in God's grace. Use Jennie Baddeley's practical theology for women to assess how your Bible reading is going. ...

Here's some ideas for engaging with the Bible. ...

You can read the rest at EQUIP book club today - just click here.

image is from Tigerlily at flickr

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