This year I am attempting to be more intentional about being in the Scriptures. Ironically enough, here I am in Seminary and one of the first things to stop when my to-do list is filled is reading the Bible. I tend to read it during the week for homework rather than spiritual growth. It was something I was warned about starting Bible College six years ago, and is something I’m still struggling with this last year of classes in Seminary. While there is nothing wrong about reading the Bible for homework, it does stop one from allowing the Scriptures to speak into your life creating radical transformation. It becomes a fill-in-the blank mentality.
So this year, I decided to start small but with great focus. Since I’m taking a class in Proverbs, I thought what better place to start? I have always loved Proverbs (it’s a book of quotes! I adore quotes, let’s just be honest!) and I love the book of Psalms (they’re songs, another thing I can’t live without- may not be able to sing but I sure do love music!). So each day I read a chapter of Psalms and a chapter of Proverbs. I chose these two books because I’ve always loved reading them and I wouldn’t feel guilty if I forgot a day, or reread a chapter- I’m doing it so I can grow spiritually.
I have nothing against reading plans to get through the Bible in a year. My church is participating in a chronological reading of the whole Bible in a year, which is great! My parents are doing it and they are learning a lot. But, personally, this spiritual discipline doesn’t work for me. I struggle with guilt. I feel like I’m letting God down when I don’t do what I set out to do. That’s not what God is about. God isn’t about causing you to feel guilty- he wants you to grow and expand your knowledge of him. He wants you to fall in love with him and stay in love with him. He wants to show you the beauty that can be found in following him.
So. This year I have chosen to be more intentional about reading my Bible. I have chosen to spend time daily in Psalms and Proverbs– this doesn’t mean that I won’t read other Scripture, but that this is where I start. I made this promise to myself. No one else.
The beauty of it is, that I am reading other Scriptures. I am finding myself reading the Genesis account of Creation because one of David‘s Psalms made me think about what Eden must have looked like. I find myself reading Jonah because he echoes one of the prayerful Psalms (Jonah 2 & Psalm 69). I find myself reading Proverbs and seeing where else they might be quoted in the Bible. Because I am being intentional- God is reminding me of things I have learned for the last six years that I haven’t thought about.
Proverbs is this beautiful book that takes these hard to grasp ideas of theology and gives it to you in an everyday format. Proverbs takes away the mystery that theologians have been so busy perpetrating- it is in the language of everyday man. There is a reason why many of those proverbs are the most often quoted Bible verses in the world. They are understandable and they teach life lessons.
That is the beauty of God’s Scriptures- they teach us about life. They teach us about God’s world. They show us his love. They are worth us reading- not because someone tells us to, but because we want a deeper relationship with God. You won’t want to spend the extra time in the Bible until you desire that deeper relationship. Don’t feel guilty about it, it’s just the facts of life. We don’t want to be shown our sins- the Bible is the light that shines on those hidden facets of our lives.
So this year, I have decided to be intentional. I am praying that God opens up the beautiful world that is in the Bible for me and shows me the wonder that can be found in him.
Proverbs 1:7~~ The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Proverbs 2:9 -12~~ Then you will understand what is right and just and fair–every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse…