So far we looked at reading the Bible: for Him, for yourself, and for them. To wrap up this series we are going to consider reading the Bible: for life. I want to leave you with this final bit of encouragement.
Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.Proverbs 4:13
When Christ, Who is your life, appears ,then you also will appear with Him in glory.Colossians 3:4
At the end of the book of Ezekiel, the prophet has a vision of a new temple. One part of his description fascinates me. “There was water flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east . . . there the water was trickling from the south side . . . [my guide] measured off a third of a mile and led me through the water. It came up to my ankles. Then he measured off a third of a mile and led me through the water. It came up to my knees. He measured off another third of a mile and led me through the water. It came up to my waist. Again he measured off a third of a mile, and it was a river that I could not cross on foot” (47:1-5).
The CSB Study Bible for Women note says, “The river deepens substantially . . . quickly becoming deep enough for swimming. If it continued at that rate, Ezekiel is left to marvel at the size and depth and power of such a river, which began as a trickle.” Yes, exactly! I believe the same is true of consistent, faithful, persistent, and persevering Bible study. Our efforts may seem small or futile and we may be often overwhelmed; but a lifetime of study will reap greater rewards than we can imagine. What begins as just a trickle of understanding and desire will surely grow into an ocean of joy and companionship with Jesus—by His grace and for His glory.
We must remember this: studying the Bible is not a marathon. It is not a race. You are not behind. Do not let guilt keep you from keeping on. You are not failing because you are thirty-six days behind in your reading plan (please stop those automatic reminders from your Bible reading app if they’re stressing you out). You aren’t failing because you read that hard chapter three times this week and you still don’t understand it. You aren’t failing because the children were sick for the past two weeks and now your rhythm is all messed up. Remember, it’s about knowing God and investing in your relationship with Him. Just pick up your Bible and start reading; renew your joy in meeting with God and studying His Word. Begin anew today.
Friends, this is the journey for life. The days, weeks, and years of studying Jesus in His Word, trickle by trickle, will suddenly reap the harvest of an ocean of understanding (never full understanding certainly, but increasing understanding!). You’ll hardly even realize it is happening. “I find now that God likes to reveal truth over many years, as I study alongside others. I realize now that big ‘splashes’ aren’t usually God’s way of doing things. Instead, through the slow drip of study and prayer, day after day, year after year, he shapes us into what he wants us to be” (Lois Tverberg, Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus).
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.Psalm 119:18
At my childhood home, we had a dear neighbor, Mr. David Austin Bridges. My mother enjoys meeting and blessing older people, so we walked over often to visit him. We would chat and usually sing a couple of songs for him. Mr. Bridges was born in November 1898 and we met him in 1990; he was ninety-two when we first met and nine years later we attended (and sang at) his funeral. He nearly reached 101. Mr. Bridges loved Jesus and read his Bible faithfully. For decades he read through the Bible every year.
Mr. Bridges’ had a favorite memory of his mother, Easter—she was sitting on their porch in Tennessee, churning butter with one hand and reading her Bible in the other. What a legacy that dear woman left for her son, who in turn encouraged my mother, who then inspired me! I am still touched by Mr. Bridges’ life, all these years later. I am inspired by his mother Easter who, over one century ago, faithfully read her Bible, never suspecting she would inspire a little girl from her son’s neighborhood to faithfully read her Bible too.
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.Revelation 3:14
Read the Bible: for Him. We come because He is worthy.
Read the Bible: for yourself. We come because we need Him.
Read the Bible: for them. We come because our people need us to be with Him.
Read the Bible: for life. We come because it will be worth it in the end.
Will you join me?
Will you come, and keep coming?