Knowing God through The Bible: It's a Process
When I was in college, our family owned two phones. One phone was located in my parent’s bedroom. The other was located in the kitchen/ family room. I was at home for summer break when one evening after dinner the phone rang. A stranger on the other end asked for Carmen. “This is she,” I answer.
The man proceeds to introduce himself. He shares a number of things including how he knows me and how he retrieved my telephone number. I listen as he explains that he works with my brother. “What?!!” I toss imaginary fire daggers at my “little” brother who refuses to make eye contact with me. Then I hear the man on the phone very politely ask, “Would you like to go see a play with me on Saturday night?”
I become flustered.
The avocado green phone was attached to the wall by a very long curly cord, but the cord was not long enough to grant me privacy for a conversation with this stranger asking me out on a date. I had never been on a blind date. Flustered by the surprise and flustered by my family listening in on what felt like an awkward conversation, I did not know how to respond.
Never being quick on my feet, I sighed, “I don’t know.” The man on the other end began laughing. At this, I find myself surprised again! In my mind, a blind date is a serious thing! After all, I don’t know this person on the other end. Why is he laughing? He seems to know me, but I’m wondering, “Who are you, dude?” He laughs and says yet another surprising thing, “I don’t know why I called.”
Oh dear. My heart sunk.
Feeling rude, I re-engaged in the conversation. In the end, he made a bargain, “Listen, if you’re not having a good time, just say the word and I’ll take you home.” He seemed like a good guy. So after a little more discussion, our very not-so-private conversation ended with me agreeing to be ready at 6:30 on Saturday evening.
The process of my future husband getting me to accept a first date with him was exactly that: a process. We joke about it to this day.
A process can be defined as a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.
Most things in life involve a process. Growing up is a process. Getting married is a process. Giving birth is a process. Our daily lives also revolve around various processes: Getting dressed, fixing coffee, getting to work, etc. Each of these processes involves a series of small steps to reach an end goal.
Yesterday, I completed yet another simple example of a process: baking bread. My family seriously enjoys bread. So I’ve learned to bake sourdough bread. This involves a series of small steps to reach the end goal, a loaf of bread. First, I mill the grain into flour. (Yep! Pioneer woman.) I feed the starter. I mix the dough. I knead the dough. I allow the dough to rise. I knead the dough again. I divide the dough into separate pans. I allow the dough to rise again. I bake. We eat.
Sound complicated? Not when you know the process.
After all, sour dough bread requires only four simple ingredients: flour, salt, oil and water. Flour, salt, oil and water. That’s it. How hard can it be? I’ve been blessed with friends who taught me the process and explained how that process can fit into my daily life. (Thank you, Linda and Erin!) Now my family enjoys- meaning they relish, savor, experience- homemade sourdough bread. YUM!
Like baking bread, learning about God through the Bible is a process. Remember: a process is a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end. The most important part of a process is understanding the end goal. Obviously, the end goal of Bible study is not a loaf of bread. The end goal is not to check something off our list we think we are supposed to do. The end goal is not necessarily to know the Bible itself or to explain all the details of the Bible. The end goal of good Bible study is to know and enjoy God.
Don’t get me wrong. I like the habit of Bible study. I like the Bible… it happens to be my favorite book. And I love the details in the Bible! Sometimes I wish there were more! I am easily fascinated and often carried away when digging into these sweet nuggets of Scripture. Details contain treasure. These golden nuggets show me that our God is a God Who cares and is in the midst of every detail of our lives down to the very cells of our being. However, my end goal is not to explain every detail of Scripture, my end goal is to know God, and then enjoy Him.
Knowing God is the prize.
My husband’s goal in making that initial phone call wasn’t to check something off his list or to explain or understand details. I was the prize! The end goal was to connect, to know and enjoy a date with me. I’m convinced that many of us are missing out on knowing and experiencing God in similar ways. The Bible can seem intimidating. We’re busy. We get flustered. We might read the Bible or a devotional and like any other task check it off our to-do list. We can listen to podcasts and read blogs. These can be inspiring, but without connecting directly with God through His Word, we merely muddle through an oh-so-daily-life wondering, “Is there something more?” There is!
Knowing and enjoying God through the Bible.
Now God wouldn’t give us the Bible as a means to connect with Him and then make studying the Bible too difficult for us, would He? Of course not! That would be mean. God is gracious. Knowing Him through the Bible is not rocket science. We only need open hearts, God Himself and the Bible.
Then the process.
Friends, that’s the purpose of Simply Bible books: to systematically guide us through the process of knowing and enjoying God through His Word. In the next few blogs or more, I plan to unpack and examine different steps of the process that lead to knowing and enjoying God through the Bible, a process that involves reading, noticing details, understanding, application and prayer. A process that helps us discuss God’s Word directly with Him.
I don’t consider myself a Bible scholar. I am not qualified to write a commentary. I simply love God and His Word. When I read the Bible, I better know God. The better I know God, the more I enjoy and experience His Presence as I go about my daily life. Bottom line, the more I know the God of the Bible, the more I love Him.
This happened with my blind date. On our date, I got to better know the stranger on the other end of the phone. After one date, we both were curious to know more and desired another date. And then another. With each date, I got to know him a little more until the process worked: I really enjoyed and loved the man. You get the idea.
Repeating the process of Bible study works. I meet with God in His Word again and again. The more I taste, the more I know Him. The more I know Him, the more I enjoy Him. Regularly repeating the process leads to a whole other process of growing closer to God and even being changed to think and look more like Him. I’m not there yet! But the end goal is ever before me: I want to know and enjoy God.
Friend, have you ever been on auto-pilot in your relationship with God?
Step one in any process is understanding the end goal. In this case, we are looking to connect or re-connect with the God of the Bible so that we might know and enjoy Him.
Lord God, thank You for Your Word. Thank You for calling us. We are humbled by Your desire to connect. In the busyness of life and sometimes feeling intimidated by the Bible, we admit that we often go on auto-pilot. Even when doing Bible study, without realizing it, we can miss experiencing You. Lord, make us curious to know You more. As we walk through the Simply Bible process, help us keep our eye on the prize: Knowing and enjoying You forever.
Friends, I would not be where I am today in this process of knowing and enjoying God if I was not sharing the journey with others! Please consider being a part of a group in your local church, online, or even in your own home. Simply Bible also offers an online community with a number of resources to help.
Join us today!
You can find us on YouTube and Facebook. Find us at the Simply Bible website, as well.