“I don’t know where to start.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I don’t see the relevance.”
“I don’t remember what I learn.”
“I don’t know anyone who can help me.”
For years, I repeated each of these statements whenever someone encouraged me to read the Bible. The idea of reading the Bible intimidated and overwhelmed me. I was intimidated by its theological words, challenging instructions, and strange stories. Let’s face it, you don’t have to read very far into the story before you are confronted with a talking serpent, circumcision, bloody sacrifices, and plagues. Moreover, with 66 books, just the sheer size of the Bible feels overwhelming! I didn’t see the point in reading it.
Then, by the grace of God, my life radically changed, and I was drawn to what once intimidated and overwhelmed me. I hungered to understand the Bible, and even more importantly, to follow the God of the Bible.
With the help of others, I even began reading the Bible every day. I couldn’t get enough. The more I learned, the more I wanted to read. Like a dimmer switch being turned to gradually shed more light in a room, the meaning of passages that once felt dark and mysterious slowly became clear. The more I read, the more it made sense to me, and I sought to order my life around its teaching.
This change in my heart and mind describes what the theologians refer to as the illumination of the Spirit. The Spirit of God illumines our minds to understand and stirs our hearts to want to follow Him. Paul writes of this in 1 Corinthians 2:11-12 (NLT) when he states:
No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.
Of course, I still wrestle with various chapters in the Bible, but by the work of the Spirit in my life, I am no longer intimidated and overwhelmed. Instead, I am drawn to the Scriptures. Like someone who has found a treasure, I value my time reading God’s Word and continue to dig to understand more.
What about you? Have you ever taken the time to read the Bible? I mean really read the Bible—not books about the Bible. How do you feel when you read it? Intimidated and overwhelmed? Confused? Frustrated? Or are you fascinated and crave to learn more?
I want to invite you to read the Bible with me this year! Regardless of your preconceptions of the Bible, pray and ask God to open up your heart and mind to what He wants to show you.
Let us help you overcome the common obstacles that I listed at the beginning:
I don’t know where to start. Join The Journey! This year, it gives you a plan to read from Genesis to Jesus by covering much of the Old Testament and portions of the Gospels. We will read just a few chapters together Monday through Friday.
I don’t understand. We will provide some help along the way through daily emails, a podcast, and an online forum where you can ask questions. The daily devotionals that are emailed to you or are available on the Join The Journey app will share with you how the truths of the day’s passage have impacted the writer’s life. Their devotionals will encourage you to keep taking the next step of faithfulness.
I don’t see the relevance. You will meet various members of our church who have been changed by reading the Bible as a part of their daily walk with Christ. These are people who simply love Jesus, seek to understand His Word, and follow His will. They are businessmen, working moms, single dads, wives, young adults, kids, and everyone in between. I know you will be challenged by their insights and encouraged by their stories of transformation by biblical truth!
I don’t remember what I read. We are making journals available for you to purchase to record your thoughts, insights, and questions. By writing just a little bit each day, you will be surprised how much you record in a year. In the end, you will have a record of all the Lord teaches you over the course of the year.
I don’t have anyone to help me. Our whole church, as well as thousands of people across the world, participate in Join The Journey each year. You can do this, and we are in your corner! More importantly, pray and ask for God’s help in understanding what you read.
We even have a Join The Journey Jr for kids, so they can read along and join the fun as well!
Let’s make 2023 a year to remember by reading God’s Word together! Imagine—the church on the same pages of Scripture daily. What a blessing to all!
On The Journey with you…