Skimming or Seeking?
The question of the title is reflective of your Bible reading habit. If you were to describe your Bible reading, what would it be like? Do you read a chapter or two hurriedly, close your Bible, say a quick prayer and then rush off to your day? Or do you actually take the time to soak in and meditate on what you are reading? These thoughts came to me as I once again read the second chapter of the wisdom book, Proverbs. In 4 verses, there are 8 action words related to my reception of the Word of God. Note them: “receive”; “hide”; “incline”; “apply”; “criest”; “liftest”; seekest”; “searchest”. I believe that these words can be seen as a progression of our response to His Word but more importantly they are collectively indicative of our approach to our time alone with God.
Now, don’t get me wrong… a simple reading of the Scriptures is good for you. But may I submit to you that a study of the Scriptures is even better. What do you mean? I mean that those who read their Bible will know God. But those who dig deep into the Word will know God even better. It is similar to the people you fellowship with at church. There are some you know casually and others you know more intimately. The difference is the degree of how much time you have invested in getting to know them.
Maybe this illustration will help you. I am a history fanatic. Anytime I am traveling, I am always looking for the next historical adventure. Needless to say, this does not describe my wife. She has tolerated all too many of my historical escapades and one of those clearly comes to mind. We had not been married long and she was invited to Dallas to be a part of her best friend’s wedding. Her sights were set on the wedding and people she’d see. My attention immediately was set on J.F.K., the grassy knoll, the book depository and all the events of November 22, 1963. The day finally arrived and we landed in Dallas. We rented a car and can you guess where we first went to? You guessed right? The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. Wow! I was excited. My wife on the other hand wasn’t but I thought all that would change once she saw everything. In other words, I figured that history would come alive as she could see all this up close. I can summarize it this way: Two different people had two different experiences that day. The two different experiences did not come about because one loved history and the other did not. The two different experiences came about because one skimmed over everything while one read every single plaque, sign and description (can you guess who that was?). As I came to the end of every room, I would see my wife sitting and waiting. While she blew through each room within a few minutes, I would explore, evaluate, and examine every artifact and picture provided. When we got back in the car later (I won’t tell you how long) I asked my wife what she learned. “Oh, J.F.K. was killed and some guy by the name of Harvey-something did it.” Well, honey, did you see the pictures of the shooting and see how the investigation took place determining whether it was one or multiple shooters?” “No. I didn’t see any of that!” On the other hand, I could tell you greater details simply because I took the time.
Is this not the way it is with our Bible reading? There are some of you who will continue skimming your Bible. You may finish through the whole Bible in a certain period of time but it becomes more of an assignment rather than an intimate time with the Grand Author. Why not attempt to get below the surface and dig a little deeper. Actually get to know the God of the Bible and in doing so, I believe that you will find growth in your spiritual life and your walk with Him will be so much more meaningful.