When I stop and think about how Jesus teaches me, I notice that He often gets me stuck in Scripture. 🙂 What do I mean by “stuck”? Let me take you on my journey…
When I first started reading the Bible regularly (I was 12 years old), I would just flip to any old page and read a chapter. I loved it when I would read something that really meant something to me on that day, but… that rarely happened. More often than not, I would flip to some genealogy or something, get bored with all those “begots”, close the Bible and open it to a new page. 🙂 So, when my dad encouraged me to pick one book of the Bible at a time and read through that, I did.
A year or so later, one of my teachers encouraged us students to read one chapter in Proverbs each day. Since there are 31 Proverbs, you can read one each day of the month! 🙂 I thought that was a good idea- since Proverbs was supposed to be full of wisdom, so I added that to my reading regimen.
In high school, I decided to read straight through the Bible. My Bible had 1,949 pages in it, so I figured out I had to read 162 pages each month – or 5.3 pages per day to finish in one year. So, I did that – and it was helpful, and I learned. (I’ve since discovered spiffy reading plans, tools, and even Bibles specially designed for reading in one year!) But, it was through my devotional reading in the Psalms that I survived those dark days. Singing Psalms. Crying through Psalms. Underlining promises and believing the Psalms.
It was also in high school that I began to get stuck in scripture. I got stuck in the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7). The part of the sermon on the mount that captivated me was Jesus’ teaching on loving enemies. But, quite honestly, there was a lot in that sermon that offended my mind. Even though it sounded great, it just didn’t make sense. However, since Jesus said it, and I didn’t understand it, I came back to read it again and again. I was stuck.
I’ve gotten stuck in many more passages of scripture since then. Often I’ve gotten stuck because I didn’t understand something, but increasingly, I get stuck because Jesus doesn’t let me move on – even when I think I understand! For the past two years, the passage that He keeps taking me back to is John 11. Whenever I hear Him whisper, “John 11” to me, I grab my Bible and open it up. Yet. Again. I usually complain a little as I’m doing it, saying something to this effect, “Now, Jesus, I’ve read this chapter more times than I can remember – and I’ve even studied it in the Greek – You had better have something new to show me!” He always does.
In the future, I may write more on what I learn being “stuck in Scripture,” but for today, I just thought I’d share the journey with you and point you to this document I just uploaded to the resources section of my site – Bible Study is Prayer. Also, if you lead a Bible study, feel free to read this one – Bible Study Leader’s Guide. They are very similar documents focusing on learning to read the Bible (or teaching others to read the Bible) as an encounter with God, rather than just a chore. When He meets you through His word… it’s exhilarating, life-transforming, and addicting. 🙂