Confession: Sometimes, I have a hard time reading the Bible.
Growing up attending Sunday school, I began to understand the basics of Scripture and the Gospel from a young age, but I always felt a sense of detachment from the words in the Bible. Although I knew the Bible fairly well, I often felt like I was reading lifeless words that I couldn’t decipher much meaning from. Sometimes it was because I truly didn’t understand what I was reading. Other times it was because I didn’t care to understand.
I wrote in the margins of my Bible on April 2, 2018: “I have the Word of God with me wherever I go. Do I read it like I know how powerful it is? No. Not really.” Then, a few months after I wrote that, a friend shared this quote with me and it changed my life:
Every day I go to these words and I say to them, “Hast thou seen Him whom my soul loves?” and these words take me by the hand and lead me beyond the words to Him who IS the Word. – E. Stanley Jones
I immediately wrote that quote on the front of my Bible. And now, each time I sit down to read my Bible, I start by praying that quote.
What does this verse tell me about who God is? As soon as I started approaching Scripture with this question on my mind, it felt like a whole new world opened up before me. Instead of reading a history book full of lifeless and confusing stories, I was reading an autobiography about my Creator. I was reading a love letter written directly to me. I was looking through a window and seeing God Himself. I was discovering Truth.
Here’s just the tip of the iceberg of what I discovered when I started inquiring about the character of God every time I went to the Word:
God is a God of history, present, and future. (Genesis 48:15-16)
God draws us close to Him. (Exodus 2:10)
God is stronger than our circumstances. (Numbers 13:30-31)
God listens when we speak. (1 Samuel 1:16)
God redeems those who face adversity. (2 Samuel 4:9)
God always has a purpose in everything He asks of us. (1 Chronicles 14:13-17)
God fights for His children. (Nehemiah 4:20)
God does not change. (Job 24:13)
God thinks I am valuable. (Psalm 100:3)
God is in total control. (Ecclesiastes 3:14)
God is a place of rest and refuge for His people. (Isaiah 14:32)
God is a Rescuer. (Lamentations 3:55-57)
God is faithful, even when the answer to our prayers is no. (Daniel 3:17-18)
God desires that everyone would know Him regardless of their past or sin. (Jonah 4:11)
God habitually uses the small and weak to do Kingdom work. (Micah 5:2)
God is worthy of our praise. (Habakkuk 2:18-19)
God is hope. (Haggai 2:20-23)
God asks for our obedience for a purpose and our betterment. (Zechariah 8:19)
God made every one of us in His image. (Malachi 2:10)
And that is only a small portion of His character from the Old Testament. The Bible is rich in communicating who God is, and it’s a direct reflection of God’s heart and character. When I approached Scripture purposefully, seeking to know God better, I found Him on every page. (Although I’ll be honest, sometimes the stories are still confusing.)
I hope that this can encourage you that you don’t need a formal degree to learn who God is through Scripture. God doesn’t hide from us. We just need to approach Scripture with open eyes and hearts.
“And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant.” – 2 Samuel 7:28