Do you like to eat your vegetables? Do you look forward to that side of brussels sprouts? Do you crave broccoli? Do you desire a serving of vegetables at every meal? Or, like many of us, could you do without? Maybe you’ll eat them out obligation, but they’re not something you love.
My youngest is a picky eater and stubborn about trying new foods. Getting him to try a new food is a process. We’ll first let him touch the new food and play with it, get to know its properties. Then, we’ll ask him to try a tiny bite. Usually this involves some kind of incentive to take that first bite. We’ll often play a board game when trying new foods and to take your next turn, you have to take a bite. Over time, with enough patience and trials, he just may begin to willingly eat the new food without any prompting. Maybe he’ll even come to love that new food.
So it was with broccoli… For my extremely picky eater, broccoli has become his vegetable of choice. He’s not only learned to eat it at meals, but actually requests it when we’re at the store. He’s moved from resisting to tasting and now on to desiring.
Just as we hunger for food, so should we thirst for God’s Word
Reading the Bible can be a bit like learning to eat vegetables. We may start off resistant. It’s not an easy read, especially depending on which translation you’re using. You may question its relevance. You may not understand the stories or their context. Isn’t the serving we get in church on Sundays enough?
Just like eating vegetables, the Bible is meant to be something we consume regularly. It’s not just for special occasions or when you feel obligated, rather it should become something we desire and crave. God’s Word should be an essential part of our lives and the place we go to seek wisdom, guidance, support, and encouragement.
So, how do we learn to love the Bible? How do we get started and build this habit? How do we move from resisting to tasting and on to desiring?
This prayer from the Book of Common Prayer provides a guide we can use:
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, so that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one Go, for ever and ever. Amen
Hear, read, mark, learn, and inward digest the scriptures so that we can hold fast the hope we have in Jesus.
1) Hear and read the Bible
- Simply begin to read the words. Choose a book and begin reading. Try reading a chapter a day, every day. When you finish, begin again. Biblegateway.com has a number of great Bible reading plans to help you get started.
- Try listening to an audio Bible, maybe as you drive to work or as you run errands. The Old Testament, in particular, was first created as an oral tradition, the stories passed down through generations through the telling, so it’s particularly suited for audio reading.
- Make the stories your own. Get to know the people. As you read and reread the Bible, the stories will become familiar and the context will fall into place.
2) Mark the Bible
- As you grow in your spiritual life, mark the moments along the way.
- Underline key verses in your Bible where you’ve had questions, found encouragement, received direction, or just spoke to you in some way.
- Add the date or even a note so when you come back to that page later, you’ll remember that moment and see where you’ve come in your journey.
3) Learn and Study Scripture
- Our time with the Bible needs both breadth and depth. When we read through the Bible, we’re going broad, getting a sense of context and connection. However, we also need to spend time going deep and studying what we read.
Join a Bible study – online or in person.
- Read several commentaries on a passage.
- Look up related verses or do a word study on key words in the passage.
- Choose a Bible study method and dig into the scripture. There are a number of great methods, such as SOAP, inductive, verse mapping.
4) Inwardly Digest God’s Words
- Take time to be still and absorb God’s words. Let God speak to you through His living words.
- Mediate, ruminate, concentrate on small passages. Turn the words over and over in your heart.
- Memorize a verse or write it on a card and carry it with you, reading it throughout your day.
Will you come to the feast? This is no time for a diet. Instead, try, taste, export, and savor all that the Bible has to offer. Make it as essential and live-giving to your as food and water. Remember that the more you try it, the more you’ll come to love it. Just like your vegetables. Good and good for you, too.