home -> spirituality -> word of God

Word of God:
Written on paper or alive today?

Do we place knowledge of Bible verses above knowledge of the Author? Why do you read the Bible? To get a head full of facts? That doesn't work very well, because all you can get are facts from the Jewish-historical viewpoint, through their cultural filter. Do you read it to arm yourself for arguments? That will work, though you won't convince anyone by reciting scripture if they really don't want to agree with you. Do you read it because someone told you that reading it daily is a good idea? I don't want to argue against that. If that is the only reason you do read it right now, don't stop. I hope you'll find another reason. Here's why I read it, here's a story from my own past. A true story.

Shortly after marrying my bride, I was sent out to sea for a 5-month cruise. We had been married for only 7 months when I left, and as it turned out, I came home about 2 weeks after our 1st Anniversary. While we were apart, we wrote each other frequently. In fact, my bride wrote me 54 letters and cards. I know that precisely, because she numbered them in sequence and I have them all in a box. Yes, I read them while at sea, and I re-read them often. Some I read almost 20 times. Why? Because they were love letters from someone who loved me and whom I loved. Because they were my closest connection to her, and because they revealed her nature to me in a way that was not done when face-to-face. I yearned for her and I learned more about her. I never cared for the letters more than I cared for her. Now, having said all that, I also confess that I have read through the sequence of letters only twice in the last nine years since coming back. What happened to my passionate digestion of the letters? It disappeared. Why? Because it was replaced by her, the author, the one that penned them and revealed herself to me, the one that loved me. Hey, who needs the letters?

I do. I still cherish them, and am grateful that I still have them. Now, that is my attitude towards the Bible. I want to get to know the Author more. I don't want to know ABOUT the author, I want to know the Author. For me, my God as I understand Him reveals His nature and Himself to me through that book. That is my primary reason for reading it, to better understand Him, to have some quality time with Him. Also, that's the same reason for putting it down when in His presence and communicating directly with Him. Quality relationships come from spending time together with the other person. I have been given the beautiful gift of being physically far away from my bride when I would have given anything to have not been so far away. I cherish her letters, but not as much as time with her. Her love letters are wonderful, and I eagerly read them. So am I with my God. I cherish His love letters, and as with my wife, I prefer the one-on-one time.

I didn't memorize her words, I didn't break them down and I don't quote them to her, nor to anyone else. I keep in my heart the 'picture' of her that I got from the letters, and that has been confirmed by her presence. I don't memorize the Bible, I don't break it down. I do quote some of it to people that want to hear that, but I fear they don't get the 'picture' of the character and love of God that I have been privileged to see.

If the Bible is more important to you than your personal relationship with God, you may need to realize that before you can have spiritual fulfillment.