Bible Popcorn Reading
I have a theory. I believe God put Psalms in the middle of our Bibles because He knew that in our times of desperation, we would flip to somewhere in the middle in search of a word of encouragement and comfort. And if it falls a little to the left, well, Job might inspire you to count your blessings. And if it goes to the right, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and even Ecclesiastes are likely to cheer you up on a bad day.
In one of his "From the Pastor’s Heart" letters, Dr. Stanley talks about how even he has struggled with finding the right verse in his time of need:
People often tell me, “I’m not a pastor like you. I don’t know where to look in the Bible when I need help.” I understand. There have been times in my life when I’ve simply cried out to God, not knowing where to turn in His Word. I don’t recommend this as a regular pattern for Bible reading, but occasionally I have simply opened the Scriptures to read whatever passage I find in front of me. One time when I was struggling with a difficult issue, I opened to Psalm 62:1: “My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation.” That was precisely what I needed to hear.
The Holy Spirit can guide you to the exact passage to encourage you (John 14:26). That’s why it’s also important to read God’s Word every day. Psalm 119:24 says, “Your testimonies also are my delight; they are my counselors.” Sometimes the reason people don’t sense the Lord’s comfort is because they’re not listening to the counsel He offers in the Scriptures. If we neglect the Word of God, every trial will feel crushing. But when we read the Bible regularly, the weight of our burdens is lifted, and we receive His encouragement and strength to endure.
While “Bible Popcorn” (seeing what “pops” up) isn’t the most effective long-term Scripture reading plan, Paul did say that “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).
So if you need a word from God today, don’t berate yourself for your past failure to read Scripture regularly. Go ahead, flip to the middle, and start reading. But do let this moment inspire you to make Bible study a regular habit, so that, as Paul also said, you may “present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
Written by Linda Canup
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