All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 2 Tim 3:16
Where scripture describes itself, it does it in a surprising way. While we might use words like authority or inerrant – words which portray truth but are not necessarily how scripture describes itself – scripture describes itself as ‘God-breathed’. On the surface scripture is made up of a wide range of books, by different writers, in all sorts of locations, covering all sorts of genres, spread over more than one thousand years.
On the surface the writers are writing their thoughts about God. Somewhere in the midst of all of that humanness something incredible happens. God breathes on that work, and it becomes alive in a way no other book is alive. We discover in the midst of reading man’s thoughts about God that we are also reading God’s thoughts about man! As we read, we become alive in new ways, and God speaks through it to us!
Some years ago I spent lots of time reading scripture. I wanted to keep pace with a friend who read through the bible five times a year. (For those of you doing the math, that’s 16 chapters a day!) It was pure competitiveness on my part (and perhaps an unhealthy trait). But in the midst of that season, people would ask me, “what is different about you?” I had not noticed, but I was learning more (doctrine) and growing more like Jesus (in righteousness). God’s ‘breathed on and alive word’ was doing its work in me.
When we get engrossed in debating what scripture is, rather than encountering it, we might be missing out. We are invited to encounter God through and in His story in scripture.
Here are some ways to engage with scripture this week.
Pick a book of the Bible, and read it through in one sitting.
Grab a commentary, and do a deep dive on one verse that means something special to you.
Each time you read, ask God, “how are you speaking to me through this passage”.
Take some space to listen.