This month is Bible Appreciation Month, and I would like to encourage you to appreciate your Bible this month by spending 15 minutes each day of March (or all lent) with your Bibles.
I remember well several instances in my life when the Bible helped me to grow significantly in my faith, or to make it through a difficult season.
When I was bullied in middle school, I found comfort in the scriptures that God would protect me from my enemies.
I remember one instance of prayer at See You at The Pole, in which I heard several of my friends pray out loud for the first time. The profound part about it was that they would use the scripture in their prayers by saying something along the lines of “God, you say in your scriptures that….” Then shift from scripture’s claim to the pleading of their heart. It was powerful. It inspired me to study my Bible more intensely. I wanted and still strive to know what scripture says, and to wrestle with understanding what it means, or how one-piece fits with another. I am continuously working toward being able to pray like that with the integrity of understanding so that God doesn’t have to interject and correct me with a “yeah, but you have completely missed the point of what I was saying there.”
I remember the moment in which my heart was so overwhelmed with grief, sadness, and every other negative emotion that my bawling prayer was wordless. At that moment, I understood not only what it meant to lament, but what it means when scripture says, “when our words fail, the spirit will groan on our behalf” (paraphrase of Romans 8:26)
I am thankful that I have scripture today, not only in my hands but in my heart.
Also, there was a time in my life when I misunderstood the place and value of scripture, to err in that way was a form of not appreciating my Bible.
For several years, I thought of the Bible as essentially a 4th part of the trinity. I took John 1:14 out of context where it says the word of God became flesh; I took that as meaning my Bible was equal to Jesus, or that Jesus was simply the Bible in person. Further wrestling with scripture with the help of my mentors in the faith helped me to understand that Jesus is The Word of God, and the Bible is simply God’s words. If you want to know God’s Word (Jesus) better, it helps to read God’s words (the Bible). A book of pages as they are collected in scripture may be a Holy thing, but it isn’t a 4th part of the trinity.
Appreciate your Bibles, read them, study them, but remember to worship Jesus whom we will never be able to fully grasp over a book that I hope you will hold in your hand every day this month.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Jacob Fields