Have you ever made a resolution to start reading your Bible again? You picked the Bible up, started reading the page where you randomly landed, and within a few seconds you gave up. Why? You didn’t feel that what you were reading could truly benefit you in any way. You didn’t see how that passage could possibly help you. So, you shut your Bible, set it down and said to yourself, “I’ll come back to this when I can do a proper study.”
Sound familiar? Anyone?
I know what that’s like because I have been there more times than I can count. I think far too many of us make our Bible time more complicated than it needs to be. We become impatient when the particular passage we read doesn’t immediately satisfy our craving for a solution to the specific problem we are facing, and we shut the book.
My advice? Stop trying to reinvent the wheel. Start with something you know. Most of us have a few favorite Bible verses memorized. One of my favorites has always been Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” I used to read this verse from a screenshot saved on my phone until one day I had the urge to go straight to the source. I opened my Bible to Jeremiah 29:13 and it hit me-"Wow! There are twelve verses before the thirteenth!" Imagine that! It sounds silly, I know, but it wasn't until I saw this singular verse wrapped in paragraphs of context that I realized, "Okay, I need to take a closer look at the story behind this."
I discovered that this Bible verse I had long cherished became even more rich in meaning when I had the context to fully comprehend it. My interest was sparked and I couldn’t put the chapter down.
Encouraging Bible verses are excellent tools to have in our back pocket, but if we fail to read the supporting context we are missing the bigger picture. It’s similar to starting a movie or a book at the climax without knowing the characters’ history.
Who wants to start a Netflix series halfway through? NOT I. The reason we get hooked on TV shows is because we love to observe character development. This concept applies to stories in the Bible as well. When we invest ourselves in a particular Bible character’s journey, God can show us things we have never seen before. Suddenly, familiar verses we’ve read for years come alive.
Sometimes the best way to begin is to backtrack. Open your Bible and dig in. You'll be amazed at what you'll find. It’s all about those #babysteps