It was a teenage girl who boasted that she did not go to Church or youth group anymore, “because she knew all the stories.” As a parent who has raised four boys, I get where she was coming from in her statement. My boys had several “age-appropriate” Bibles as they were maturing. There was “My First Bible,” and then a “Discovery Bible” and then another one and another one. With each new edition, it repeated the old same old stories with the addition of a few new ones that might be a little more complex for young minds to understand.
They also went to children’s Church every weekend. The primary curriculum that was used is based on a three-year plan of Biblical values. That means they are basically teaching the same Bible stories on the three-year cycle. The same stories get repeated over and over again.
Then as we move into adulthood, we are challenged to listen to sermon after sermon on the same topics. The preacher challenges everyone to “read their Bibles regularly.” How do you read the same stories you have heard for a lifetime? How do you read Bible stories you already know?
- Develop a Humble Attitude. Your mindset as you approach reading the Bible is a massive factor in what you will get out of it. If you have an arrogant, “I already know this” attitude, then you will not take much away from it. If you come to it with a “Lord show me something” mindset, you are more likely to see something new.
- Read it Differently Each Time. One time read just one story or one chapter and then stop and reflect. Next time read a large section and look for big themes. The next time read it chronologically and notice differences. One time read a whole book of the Bible in one sitting. Mix it up.
- Look for Details. It is easy to see the big picture of a story, but often there is a powerful punch in the details. Take the parable of the lost sheep. We know Jesus is the good shepherd searching for lost sheep. When you look closely, you notice he leaves the 99 in the open country. He leaves 99 to care for themselves or more powerfully, to care for one another while he is away. Look closely, and you may have missed something.
- Notice with Whom You Identify. When you read a Bible story, do you always identify with the hero of the story? Are you Moses, David, Jesus, and Paul in every story? What if you flipped it around and once you were a Pharisee, Aaron, Judas, or King Saul? It is amazing what you might see if you were to look through different eyes.
- Invite A Friend into Your Reading. Jesus calls us to community for many different reasons. One of them is so that other people will show us things we might have missed. This can be a formal Bible study setting, or it can just be two friends using the Youversion Bible app. Other people will open your eyes as you discuss a passage together.
These are just a few little tips to help you grow in your knowledge of the Bible. I think that if you are not careful, you will push back from reading the Bible, not because of deficiency in it, instead because of one in us. With a little effort, we can see the Bible with fresh eyes each time we read it. That way, God’s word can penetrate our hearts as we learn to live more as he desires.