Connecting with God's Word
I have a secret. I’ve kept it hidden beneath 'praise the Lord,’ 'it's such a blessing,' and other holy sounding words. I’ve smiled, big and bold, every Sunday, so you would never guess. If you knew, you'd see through me. But I think it's time you knew, for my secret may be your secret too.
For most of my Christian life I've been afraid of the Bible. In my family, the Bible was a weapon of control. There was no wonder in the wondrous story. I wanted to know God, but in His word I found only condemnation. I looked at the Bible and felt judged and afraid.
Have you heard that the Bible is God’s love letter? I hadn’t, not until my mid-20s. To me, the 66 volumes of letters, stories, poetry and prophecies didn’t feel like outpourings of love.
When you read through, do you feel love rising from the pages? Can you hear God speaking grace? I couldn’t.
Then a friend gave me a translation I’d never read. Everything changed.
Reconnecting with God’s word
Between black letters on white pages, I met a Jesus who could sass better than a Southern mama. In the gospels, I could talk with a Saviour who cares and who is laugh-out-loud funny.
I read Ecclesiastes and found encouragement to truly, unashamedly live. In the Psalms, I found people shouting out to God. In Acts I read stories of courage, humility and practical, everyday love.
Did you know there’s a book of the Bible that’s about just one person? The book we call Philemon is God’s love letter urging His children to protect a slave named Onesimus. Ours is a God who makes sure the world remembers a powerless social outcast. Wow.
In the Bible I met a God of endless grace. I found a God who encourages us to dance, to sing, to live and love, and to let ourselves be loved. A God who takes the time to speak to one lonely woman at a well; a God who fights against oppression and who knows us by name.
I found a God of the imperfect, the forgotten, the powerless. I’m in awe of this God, but I’m not afraid of Him. Again, wow.
How to read the Bible
If you’re struggling to connect with the Bible, here are four ways you could find joy in God’s word.
1. Declare your feelings. Tell God. Shout it, write it, Instagram it. Say how you feel about the ancient text filled with battles, rules, exile, atonement, and a Saviour who transforms everything. Begin to metaphorically wrestle with the Bible, and invite others to journey with you.
2. Change translations so you can see the word afresh. Feeling stuck, like you’ve read it all before? Dive into something new. A different translation can breathe new insight into old truths. Hop online, find a Bible app, or visit a library or bookstore. What version are you currently reading?
3. Challenge your theology. Read a book, listen to a podcast or watch a YouTube video that presents the Bible from an angle you’ve not considered. We may not agree with everything we hear or read, but this pushes us to go to God and say, ‘So, what do you think about…’ Like Paris, talking to God is always a good idea.
4. Let out your inner child. Do you like pretty things? I do. Silence your inner librarian and let your inner child create art on your Bible’s crisp, clean pages. If, like me, drawing just isn’t your thing, and even your stick figures aren’t sure what they are, why not try a coloring or journaling Bible? There are even coloring Bibles for kids. And, speaking of kids, children’s Bibles are adorable. Sometimes, we need to giggle over cute pictures, smile at silly rhymes, and rest in uncomplicated messages of grace.
What I’m reading
I’m currently reading the Message translation, coloring my way through one book at a time. I’m tempted to find a copy of Rob Lacey’s The Word on the Street, just for something a little bit different. Which translation speaks to you?
Have you read Rachel Held Evan’s Inspired? I learned so much about how the 66 love letters come together to form a book that is alive with hope, humour, and love. My go-to podcast at the moment is Her Daily Drive.
Do you have a book, podcast or Bible study to recommend? Have you seen the She Leads Daily Bible studies? Share your thoughts below or join us on Facebook. We’d love to jump into God’s word with you.