Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
How can one rightly handle the word of truth, God’s Word? First, you cannot handle what you do not know. In order to help others understand the Bible you first need to read it. And not just read bits and pieces but the entire Bible. I know that fifteen years ago I thought I had a very good understanding of what the Bible said and what it did not say. Then I was challenged by a Sunday school teacher to read the entire Bible in a year. That sounded like an easy challenge; after all I knew what it said. I had been reading and hearing the Bible for years.
Guess what? I found things I thought were in the Bible were not there and things I thought were not in the Bible were. You see, up until then most of my Bible reading was piece meal and the vast majority was read in Church during services or in Sunday school. So what I got was the verses pertinent to the season or the Sunday school lesson for that week. Yes I had read all the stories but had not read the book.
The Bible is the greatest narrative ever written, spanning over four thousand years written by over 40 writers with hundreds of people. Yet for all of this it is a coherent story that takes us from creation to salvation. Only by reading it from start to finish can we grasp the story and see how it all comes together. Yes Numbers and Leviticus can be a bit dry and hard to get through and Chronicles can feel like a retelling of Kings but each book has its own special wisdom and message for us. Most importantly, if God chose to include it then it is important.
I did not complete the Bible in a year. In fact it took almost two years. I started with Genesis and then felt like something was missing. So I jumped to Matthew and read the New Testament straight through the restarted Genesis and read all the way through to Revelations again. Since that time I have read it again and listened to the Bible on my daily commutes, I get motion sick on the bus, at least five times. This is in addition to reading selected books for these daily writings. And every time I read or listen to God’s word I find new insights and new ways to apply His words to my life.
So, what did I think was in the Bible that was not? For all my life I have heard “God helps those that help themselves.” I have never found anything even close to that sentiment. God helps those who cannot help themselves. He helps us to come back to Him. What did I find that I was sure was not in the Bible? The rapture. Seems funny now, but I grew up in a Lutheran church and we just did not go in for that sort of thing. In fact not only did we not read Paul’s writing on the rapture we totally ignored the Book of Revelation. What I learned from this is that each domination stresses certain parts of the Bible and for whatever reason ignores other parts. As Christians we need to go beyond what we hear on Sunday mornings and dive into God’s Word and learn for ourselves what God said. All the time using more mature believers to help us understand the Word.
Have a blessed day,