We may not talk about it very often, but we all go through those seasons in our Christian life when reading the Bible is more a chore than a delight. During those seasons, when we aren’t making excuses for not reading it, we’re forcing ourselves to crack it open for five minutes like we’re taking a big spoon full of Robitussin. During those seasons, it seems strange to us that the psalmist would write about God’s words, “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than the drippings of the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10).
What do we do during these times? We know that this attitude is not alright, yet we can’t seem to shake it. First, we need to ask God’s forgiveness because if we’re not excited about God’s Word, then we’re not going to be excited about God either. Pray that the Lord would give you the grace to repent and change your heart so that you see the exceeding value of his Word. Second, something I picked up from a book called Grasping God’s Word is to actively remind yourself that the Bible is written TO YOU (J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays, 20005). Yes, it is true that the authors of the Bible wrote to specific people at a specific time in a specific place, but when God inspired them to write the Scriptures He had the entire body of Christ in mind, throughout the ages come. We see this principle in Jesus’ prayer in John 17. While He is praying for those who are, at that time, His disciples, He makes it clear that He is praying for others as well when He says, “I do not ask for these only (His current disciples), but also for those who will believe in Me through their word” (v. 20). We are part of that group of people who will believe in Jesus through the words that the disciples speak and write down. By God’s design, the disciples were passing on God’s truth for future generations of Believers.
So what difference does knowing that the Bible was written to you make? Duvall and Hays say it is the difference between reading a lost letter written by someone you don’t know addressed to someone else you don’t know and then reading a letter written directly to you by someone who loves you deeply and who you love deeply in return (like a young man writing to his fiancee). In reading the first letter, perhaps you can appreciate the writing style or the fact that there are two people out there that care for each other, but you’ll probably briefly read through it once, dispose of it, and it won’t do anything to change your life. With the second letter, because it is written to you by someone who you share a deep love with, you will pour over every word several times and you will ask questions of the letter trying to determine why he/she chose those words and phrases instead of others. By the time you are done with that letter, you will know what it says and it will move you to return the love he/she showed to you in the letter. When you pick up the Bible today, remember that it is not another ancient book like The Iliad or the works of Aristotle; it is the very Word of the God of the universe, and if you have trusted in Christ, then God loves you more than you can fathom and He has expressed that love to you in every word of the Bible.