by Alexa Hess
My favorite part of the day is when I take a walk around my neighborhood. Spring comes alive in Seattle as the watered ground bursts forth with flowers and green trees. What I love most about these walks is that every time I notice something new. I may think I’ve surveyed all the nature around me only to be pleasantly surprised when I see a new flower emerge or a new bush blossom.
Reading the Bible is like taking a walk in my neighborhood. No matter the number of times I’ve read it, there is always something new to see. But for many of us, it may be hard to see Scripture in this way. Maybe you feel like your time in God’s Word is rushed or feels a little stale. We all have seasons when reading the Bible can be a struggle, but this doesn’t mean we still can’t experience the beauty of Scripture. God’s Word is like a Spring day stroll–there is always something to discover, marvel over, and experience.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and effective.” God’s Word is alive because God is alive. When we open up the pages of Scripture, we experience the words of a God who is actively reigning and ruling. The same God who spoke creation into existence is the same God whose words we hold in our hands. Just like God made the world come alive through the sound of His voice, He makes His Word come alive through the help of the Holy Spirit. But too often, we forget just how alive God’s Word is. When we experience struggling seasons in the Word, we can view Scripture like it is a wasteland. We can find it to be boring, dull, and dry.
One of the reasons why our Bible study can grow stale is because we approach it with the wrong mentality. When we go to read the Bible we should not go into it thinking we know everything about it. We may have read the Bible front to back, but this does not mean we know it exhaustively. If we open our Bibles and assume we already know what it says and means, we won’t sit in it long enough to discover something new. It would be similar to me keeping my head down as I walk in my neighborhood. If I’ve seen it all, why bother looking? But when we approach Scripture in this way, we become hurried in our time with God. We may skim a few lines to then simply close our Bibles and go on with our day. All of this can stem from a wrong perspective of Scripture. God’s Word is a garden to delight in, not a wilderness to drudge through.
Growing in our approach to Bible study takes humility and discipline, two words we often don’t like. We need humility so we can come to Scripture with fresh eyes. Instead of approaching Scripture viewing ourselves as Bible scholars, we must be like little children wide-eyed and eager to learn. When we humble ourselves before God’s Word, we admit that we don’t know everything about it.
Romans 11:33 says, “Oh, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and untraceable his ways!” Because we cannot fully mine the depths of God, we cannot fully mine the depths of His Word. This should excite us rather than discourage us. God has revealed Himself to us through His Word, which means we get to spend our whole lives learning more and more about Him. With the Holy Spirit inside us, we should approach God’s Word with joy as we continue to learn and grow in understanding.
As we approach God’s Word with joy, we will feel ready to take up the task of disciplined study. This can look like one of two ways. Taking the advice of David Mathis in his book Habits of Grace, we can either rake for breadth or mine for depth. This means that we can spend time reading a large section of Scripture and learn from a broad sweep or we can read a small section and learn by breaking the text down. Thinking back to my daily walks, I delight in the nature around me as I look wide and look up close. In the same way, there is much to learn in both small and large passages of scripture. The key is to take time to pay attention. Read the verses slowly and notice certain words or themes. Be curious about the text and ask questions. Often, coming back to the same place helps you see things you didn’t see the last time. If you want to grow in your Bible Study method, our Search The Word Study is a great tool to help you learn.
If you still feel like you’re struggling to delight in God’s Word, don’t neglect the help of the Holy Spirit. You are not alone in reading God’s Word. God stands ready to illuminate His Word through the help of the Spirit. Before you start reading for the day, pray the psalmist’s prayer from Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (ESV). Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see with new eyes and bring truths to light. Lastly, remember that we can never outgrow the gospel. Daily we need the reminder of God’s gift of salvation we have received through Christ. Spending time in God’s Word is an opportunity to marvel over the gospel. May an eagerness to see, learn, and grow fuel our desire to read Scripture. There is abundance to be discovered in God’s Word.