“I don’t suppose I’ll ever forget ol’ what’s his name.” So goes the well-traveled quip—said during Vaudeville days for sure, and maybe even said much earlier by one of eight remaining humans who floated on the water in an ark. The quip bears much truth when it comes to my own tendencies toward forgetfulness, particularly, for our purposes, related to my Bible studies.
There are people I know who are encyclopedic in their recall of the Bible. They seem to remember every character and town, all the key passages, and where to find them all in an instant. This annoys me in my selfish parts. But I still admire these people. So I’m not a complete mess.
On the one hand, I have studied this miraculous Spirit-breathed book for decades, have learned its main characters and constituent parts increasingly enough to be conversant in Bible class, and, moreover, have had its truths soak into my soul long enough to begin to change for the better. On the other hand, at regular intervals, I come across names or events that I almost can’t believe are even in there. “I’m sure I’ve read this part before; how could I have missed it?” I’ve said to myself and to the dog more than once. As you might imagine, I would much rather recall in an instant the relevant passages so as to present these with reverential aplomb and timely benefit to whoever is listening (not including the dog). But mostly I can’t.
My consolation being, so I hear, some of the brightest scholars among us occasionally come across new awarenesses hiding in their Biblical midsts too. Now this alone should tip off the rest of us non-head-of-the-class types that the information contained inside this remarkable book is no less than inexhaustible. But, even so, this limitless quality of God’s Word should not dissuade us one jot or tittle from the process of diving headlong into the joy of perusing these blessed pages more often. And whenever we do, we’ll find that any way we turn reveals a work of perfection whose layers of enlightenment were written specifically to fill the needy depths of the human soul. We could take a single verse—“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16)—and spend a lifetime (or an eternity, which is quite a bit longer) plumbing the far reaches of its truths, and growing fuller and fuller, and drawing closer and closer to its Author thereby.
And that, in the final analysis, is the point of reading Scripture—not to memorize morsels of knowledge to dazzle our friends by, but to imbibe fountains of truth poured out from God’s Spirit into our own in order to draw us nearer to His heart. For to memorize the names, or the towns, or the passages, and yet miss the Lover who inspired the words, misses widely the bullseye, which is this: The Bible is, through and through, a love letter of infinite dimensions drawn straight from the heart of an ever-pursuing God who loves us now and always will.
And with that dear truth reverberating in my own heart this morning, I am inspired to reach for the Good Book before me and pick up where I left off yesterday—the passage where it says “give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” That’s in Ephesians 5:20 by the way.
I hope this encourages you to enjoy reading your Bible today.
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