The following is an excerpt from Open Your Bible, a 7-session Bible study focused on a developing a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the Word of God. Find more information and order a copy at lifeway.com/openyourbible.
Engage Truth Broadly
We called it my “Meat Party.”
For my birthday last year, my husband hosted a dinner party at our house, complete with white linens, fancy drinks, a few obligatory greens, and eight enormous, juicy, salty steaks off the grill.
You see, my favorite food is steak. Or, to be slightly more general, I love any hot, salty meat, really. My friends laugh and cringe a little when I say it, but anyone who knows me knows this passion of mine.
I’m sure I lost a handful of you at “hot, salty meat,” but it’s the truth. For me, meat can be the appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Basically the entire meal.
Now, the Bible was never actually referred to as our Daily Steak (which is unfortunate), but if it had been, I’d absolutely relate. I am also certain it was never called our Daily Snack. Daily Bread implies survival. It is necessary. It is sustenance.
You know when the deer pants for the water in Psalm 42? The psalmist says that’s how he feels about God. He’s not a little thirsty—he’s parched and panting for the Lord.
I have to pause here for a moment to ask:
When was the last time you were desperate and panting—in need of God?
When was the last time you craved His Word like your favorite meal?
OPEN YOUR BIBLE to 1 Samuel 1:12-16.
Hannah prayed desperately to the Lord in the temple, so desperately that Eli accused her of what?
OPEN YOUR BIBLE to Job 23:12.
Job’s hunger for the infinite was greater than his hunger for the finite.
What does he say about the words of God’s mouth?
OPEN YOUR BIBLE to the following verses.
Copy them down, and pray the words as you write, asking God to increase your hunger for and satisfaction in His Word.
I’ve been convicted lately to read my Bible more broadly than just a few verses or even a chapter a day—to consume it as a hearty meal, rather than an hors d’oeuvre. And as I have begun to change the way I engage God’s Word, I can’t help but wonder: If I read my Bible as often as I read other books (or blogs, texts, and social media), would I manage to read it from cover to cover in only a month or two?
The truth is, we can (and should) tackle whole books at once, reading shorter ones straight through and repeatedly, every day for a week or a month, to really engage it fully. It’s not the only way or “right way” to read the Bible, but it’s a powerful exercise in engaging God’s Word as a complete work, and an effective way to deepen our understanding of His story.
Reading things other than the Bible is absolutely okay. But reflect for a moment and list some things you may be guzzling more eagerly than God’s Word.
Think of the last time you sat down to the Bible for a long read. What was it like? Did it make you even hungrier for God’s Word?
What if we were women who craved and consumed God’s Word for the meal it is intended to be? What if we “read on” when the rest of the world moved on? If we kept on drinking the Living Water, what would we find at the bottom of our glasses? Would we ever reach the bottom?
By approaching Scripture broadly, we have so much to learn! We probably shouldn’t call it a “meat party,” but we can be absolutely certain that guzzling Scripture will take us from parched to quenched like nothing this fading world can ever offer. (But if you ever do throw a Bible Meat Party, please count me in!)
Let’s try approaching the Bible as a meal today.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Curl up with God’s Word and consume five chapters straight—even an entire book!
- Try the Book of 3 John—it’s only 219 words. The Book of Colossians would be an awesome choice, too!
- Read the rest of 1 Samuel 1 to find out what happened when Hannah faithfully prayed to the Lord in her desperation.
- Read Matthew 14 all the way through to understand what news was fresh in Jesus’ heart just before He preached to and fed the five thousand.
- Read 2 Samuel 11 & 12 to get the full story of Bathsheba. We think of her as the rooftop bather and the source of David’s lust, but do you know whose mother she is?
Excerpted from Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams, Open Your Bible © 2015 Lifeway Press. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.