Not a Stand-Alone Bible

“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God” (1 Cor. 2:12, ESV).

God never meant for the Scriptures to stand alone. Hear me out; this is what I’m getting at: He meant for us to profoundly need Holy Spirit’s help to comprehend them. We can only understand “the things freely given us by God” through His Spirit. Only His Spirit can open up to us the wonders concealed in His Word. When we do receive Holy Spirit’s empowering illumination, the Bible becomes an exquisite haven… a pasture thick with live-giving nourishment… a world of poetry, beauty, transformation… a land of enthralling action and daily discovery.

Now, I am not going to pretend that every single time I open the Good Book, I have an epiphany and soar on the heights. Although He surely gives me moments like those, there are other days when my intake of Scripture is more akin to eating a bowl of cereal. It provides the nutrients and fuel for the moment, but is not going to stick out in my memory forever afterwards.

My point is, I don’t want you to read my words and get down on yourself. If your own experience of Bible reading has not yet become alluring or riveting to you, don’t despair! The aim of this post is quite the opposite – I earnestly desire to encourage you. God is yearning to bring you into a richer, fuller experience of His Word.

My pertinent nugget for the day is simply this: Don’t try to conquer the Scriptures on your own. Holy Spirit is right there with you, bursting with excitement to take you on a new adventure with Him. Will you slip your hand in His and follow His leading? He’s yearning for your response to His invitation!

Before you even begin, shut your eyes as you sit with His precious book open in front of you. Engage the eyes of your heart, “looking to Jesus” (Heb. 12:2a). Purposefully ask Him to pour out His Spirit in, over, and through you as you dig into His words. Express to Him that you need Him to show you what He has buried there for your unearthing.

Then, as you begin to read, go slowly. Don’t rush past any of the sentences. Pause thoughtfully over each one, listening for what Holy Spirit might speak to you about it. When something jumps out, highlight or underline it. If an extra thought about what that verse means comes to your mind, jot it down in the margin. Ruminate over the passage you are exploring. Don’t stress over how much ground you will cover that day – if Holy Spirit is all over three verses, then just stay on those three verses. Let them go deeper and deeper and deeper into your spirit.

In an article I recently read, a brother shared that he buys a new Bible every year in lieu of a journal. As he delves into the Word each day, he does all his reflective writing there in the margins. I thought that was an intriguing idea. The important thing, though, is to experiment with different tools for quarrying the gold mine hidden within every chapter of the Scriptures. When you find an approach that comes alive for you, glom onto it and make it yours forever!

As for me, here is a picture of one of my Bible pages, just to share with you what it sometimes looks like when I get deep into my reading. I don’t cover every page with this many notes, but it was an extra inspired day on that occasion 😊:

Bible page

As you chew on all of this, I have one more thought for you. I know in my spirit that Holy Spirit wants to impress on your heart new truth today. He desires to show you how eager He is to reveal to you the beauty, the depths, and the power of the Scriptures He has written for you. He is brimming over with enthusiasm to become your personal tutor in His Word. Even now, He is whispering to these loving words to you: “Heaven’s kingdom realm is accessible, close enough to touch” (Matt. 10:7b, TPT).

Open up His captivating book, and dive in!

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Do you have any Bible-reading tips to share that have worked out really well for you? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

10 thoughts on “Not a Stand-Alone Bible

  1. Jennifer, I like your focus on going deeper as we read. One tip that helped me was when a pastor mentioned he uses a bookmark for the New and Old Testaments and reads as little or as much as he is led to each day. That way he reads through the bible at his own speed and doesn’t get discouraged. I’ve been doing this for about ten years now, and I love it. I use sticky notes so I know exactly where I left off. I call it the “sticky note method.”
    Blessings ~ Wendy

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love that, Wendy! That sounds like a very life-giving approach. About a year ago, a friend of mine alerted me to the existence of a new Bible edition called Bibliotheca. It’s the text of the Bible printed without chapter and verse numberings, so that the only headings are the names of the books of the Bible. I have fallen in love with it, and find that it lends itself towards that same dynamic you are describing, reading as much or as little as Holy Spirit leads me in a sitting. I am so grateful He led me to this new way of experiencing the Bible! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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