Sep 5 2022
Episode 21: When the Bible Comes to Life, So Do You
I grew up loving to read. Now, part of this could be because my mom was a teacher. And another part of this could be because our generation wasn’t technically a part of the technology age until we were in our teens. Tablets, smartphones, and streaming apps weren’t a part of my childhood (thankfully)! Anyway, I grew up lovinnnng books. I could read for hours on end. It was like stepping into the pages and traveling to different worlds with new friends.
In high school (and even into college) I got into reading romance novels. Who doesn’t love stories of unlikely romance and handsome heroes?! Anyway, there did come a point when I began to feel convicted about reading them. I still loved the plot lines and thrill of romance, but I was beginning to ache for stories that had something deeper. Perhaps in parallel with my own life, I was wanting to read about women who were pursued by men who had hearts for God. It was around this time I discovered one of my favorite authors: Francine Rivers.
As I made it my mission to read every book she had written, I began to notice two different types of stories she wrote. Half of them were completely fiction (still with underlying Godly themes). The other half were based around Biblical characters that we know today. This was, perhaps, the first time I began seeing the Bible as a book full of real people. I know that sounds silly, as I am a firm believer in the Inerrant truth of the Bible. But the fact remained, up to that point, I had often read the stories in Sunday school without really thinking beyond the words on the pages. They were just, well, stories!
But then, I began reading a series called “A Lineage Of Grace”. In it were the stories of five women in the Bible (some of whom I’ve had episodes on). Each woman was a part of the lineage of Jesus. What was so beautiful about these stories, though, was the skillful way Francine Rivers transported you into their lives.
It was riveting and eye opening. But most importantly, what it did was give me a new lens through which to read the Bible. It feels like a roundabout way of saying this, but until my early to mid twenties, I didn’t exactly look forward to reading the Bible. And I was a reader! But this.. this beautiful perspective, brought by Francine Rivers, was a lightbulb moment for the reader in me. It made me want to start over reading the Bible. This time, more slowly. This time, I wanted to read it as if I were there. Thus began my journey into the Word of God.
Over the years, I’ve been asked how to study the Bible. How to read the Bible. Where do you start? And as much as I’d love to point to resources and study guides, I have to say, for me, it started with this new perspective. Understanding these were real people and these events really happened… they weren’t just Sunday school cartoon characters. Now, that being said, I will say there are practical steps to take. But before I read a single page, the first major step I took was changing the way I thought about the Bible and the people in it.
I suppose this was on my heart today because I know that the Bible is the one thing that holds all of the wisdom we’ll ever need in this world. We live in a tumultuous time. We live in a time that many consider new, educated, and more ‘enlightened’ than ancient days. But sweet friends, there is nothing new under the sun. There is nothing that exists now that God didn’t already know would exist. Humanity is as broken today as it was then. And until Jesus returns, true peace will never be known by the world. In the meantime, though, what we can do is equip ourselves with the Word. It will show us truth, expose our rebellion, and correct us in our mistakes so we can live God’s way. This is basis on which we are to live, as Christians. This is what prepares us to go out and be salt and light.
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