A Place to Begin When You Don't Know Where to Begin
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1 (NIV)
A cold February night many winters ago. Snow was falling thick and fast, blowing across my windshield. Not far ahead I saw the glowing lights of a bookstore.
Liz, you drove through a snowstorm to buy a book? I did. But it wasn’t just any book.
Minutes earlier, seated in a toasty warm office, I’d confessed my sins (well, most of them) to the pastor of the church I’d started attending. I told him enough to get my point across, to convince him I was a "Bad Girl."
The pastor gently said, "So, you lived a worldly life."
I was confused. "No, I did all that stuff in America."
He smiled. Then he prayed and encouraged me to read the book of John.
I bolted out of his office, intent on buying a Bible right then and there, snow or no snow. The bookstore was deserted. The cashier was freaked out about the weather. But I found what I was looking for: the biggest, thickest study Bible in stock.
Safely back home, I opened my new Bible and read today’s key verse: "In the beginning was the Word …" (John 1:1a, NIV). Um … did this mean back when God created the earth? No, even before that. "Before the world began, the Word was there" (John 1:1a, ERV).
So, God wasn’t talking about a printed book filled with words. He was talking about His Son.
I kept reading. "And the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1b, NIV). Father and Son, together with the Holy Spirit, bound throughout eternity. Three in one, like water in three forms: liquid, vapor and ice.
I couldn’t believe so much mind-boggling truth was packed into a single verse. Is the whole Bible like this? I wondered.
Sitting there in my drafty old apartment, where central heat was little more than a rumor, I let the truth of John 1:1 sink in, warmed by the words and what they revealed about this God I was only beginning to understand.
Then I read the next verse. And the next. I inhaled the book of John, then the Psalms, then the letters of Paul. I couldn’t get enough, didn’t want to stop.
As the months went by, I feared my enthusiasm for the Bible might wear thin. That once I’d read each page, the words wouldn’t be as exciting the second time, let alone the tenth time.
Seriously, Liz? Nothing could be further from the truth! Every time I read a familiar verse, God reveals a richer, deeper meaning. And when I find a new-to-me passage? Pure joy.
Beloved, is that how reading the Bible is for you? An ongoing journey of discovery, an endless adventure? Or has it become a duty, a task, something to be checked off on your daily to-do list?
Maybe it’s time to change that.
All over the world, Bibles are waiting to be opened. On shelves and under beds, on top of coffee tables and inside dresser drawers. Waiting, waiting. In your house. In my house. In lots of people’s houses.
When we finally dive into God’s Word, a light comes on. Things inside us fall into place. Our hearts begin to heal from years of brokenness. We have a new reason to get out of bed in the morning. We’re drawn to a place of worship where we can serve and to a body of people we can love.
One book can do all that? It can. It will. Just begin. Go slowly. One verse a day, maybe two. Break each verse into phrases, then into individual words. What is God saying? What does it mean? How could you apply it to your life right now, this very day?
Heavenly Father, help me keep my Bible close at hand and foremost in my thoughts. Prompt me to reach for Your timeless Word every day and open it with joyful anticipation of what You will show me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 130:5, "I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope." (NIV)
Deuteronomy 30:14, "… the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it." (NIV)
1 John 2:5a, "… if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Most of us really want to spend more time in God’s Word. Is finding a moment to yourself your greatest challenge? Choosing a Bible translation? Figuring out where to begin? Suppose you started with just five minutes, using a Bible you already own and opened it to the book of John. What might happen?