Getting to know God isn’t as simple as meeting up at the local coffee shop and having a conversation. Or is it? It’s really not as hard as some want to believe it is. If you own a Bible, He’s just a page away from being the very best friend you’ll ever have.
“But the Bible is old. Aren’t parts of it irrelevant to today’s culture?”
Let’s start with an illustration. Suppose there’s a new novel on the market that you want to read. But by the time you get to the store to buy it, someone went before you and blacked out sentences that they decided aren’t relevant to the story. When you sit down to read it, if you accept the altered pages, you’re going to miss some major plot twists and insightful details! The author of the novel included those sentences for a purpose because they added richness and fullness to the whole story and they enabled the reader to get to know the people in the book. For someone else to decide to alter the writer’s work isn’t just wrong and disrespectful to the writer, it’s a disservice to the reader!
With that said, the Bible is VERY relevant today. Literally, every single situation that you could be faced with can be addressed in Scripture. From understanding right from wrong, knowing the wisest course of action, how to pray, how to listen, how to love, how to grow—it’s all outlined in that wonderful book.
One of my favorite passages is Isaiah 40:8, which says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” This message is repeated in James 1:11, as well as in Psalm 119:89, which reads, “Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.”
When you accept Scripture as the pre-ordained Word of God, everything begins to make sense. It seems obvious to say this, but the secret people sometimes miss is—you can’t pick and pull out which parts you want to believe. You either accept it as it is and enjoy the fullness of the text, or you don’t and feel dissatisfied with unanswered questions. Don’t ruin the story with a black Sharpie, deciding what you think should or shouldn’t be included. It’s not up to you to decide. As the Divine Author, it’s God’s Word, and therefore, not up to us decide what stays and what goes.
“How do I read the Bible?”
The first step to reading the Bible is prayer. Prayer for wisdom and understanding can help us get past the intimidation factor. God doesn’t expect us to all be theologians. And remember, God loves to work in unexpected ways. He does this to make sure credit goes where it’s due (to Him). So don’t feel threatened by big words or archaic language.
The second step is choosing a Bible. Personally, I go back and forth between the English Standard Version (ESV), the New Living Translation (NLT), and the King James Version (KJV). You can access all three of these translations for free on BibleGateway.com, or the free app. Having multiple translations, plus a good commentary, is the best ways to overcome the intimidation factor.
Finally, read daily and don’t rush through it. Savor each word and reflect on what it means. The Bible isn’t meant to be gobbled up; it’s meant to be enjoyed. Sporadically reading the Bible is like going to the gym once a month and expecting to get stronger. It’s unrealistic. You have to read daily in order to grow.
“How does God talk to us?”
As the Creator of the universe and Mastermind of the Bible itself, God is the author of life. He uses His Word to communicate with us. As you read daily, you’ll get to know Him in a deeply personal way.
In Nehemiah 8:12, it says, “And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.” This Scripture is a great illustration of how reading and understanding the word of God gives joy and fulfillment.
And the more time you spend in Scripture, the more you hear His voice. He’s not as elusive as you think. In the last year alone, I’ve had several issues on my mind, and God has used Scripture to direct me to an answer, give me comfort and peace about situations, and wisdom on how to handle various situations. The more you study, the more you see His hand and recognize His voice.
Getting to know God is attainable. Like any relationship, it requires effort and nurturing. James 4:8 states, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
He is present and ready. But He’s waiting on you. One thing that’s very true about God—He will not push Himself on someone who pushes Him away. But if you want to know Him, He will show Himself.