Last year, I read through the entire Bible.
I vaguely remember doing so once or twice before when I was much younger with my parents, but this time I wanted to do it on my own. And I wanted to do it in a way so I could be mindful of the fact that I had done it, thus my reason for blogging about it.
There were some days when I didn’t fully understand all that I read. There were many days when I didn’t even feel like reading. But I finished, and I’m glad I did.
The Word of God is a living book. It talks to us in different ways at different times. If we let it, it will change our lives.
The Bible can reveal some new thing, or it can reaffirm old promises. Among many other things, last year’s journey through the Bible reinforced my faith in God’s goodness, Jesus’ love, and the truth of Scripture. These are three things I know for sure.
1. God is good.
People have overused this common statement that the impact of its simple truth has been lost on many of us. But some clichés are worth repeating.
Even when bad things happen, God is good.
Even when people are disappointing, God is still good.
Every single thing that God has done since the beginning of time – from the Flood to Calvary – is because of His goodness. Every thing that He allows to happen – bad stuff included – is because of His goodness. “God would never permit evil, if He could not bring good out of evil.” (Augustine)
Many people have had their faith in God and His goodness shaken, perhaps shattered, because of the evil that exists in our world. There is evil is our world because there is sin in our world. There is sin in our world because God has given us free will. Because God is good, He had to create the best world possible and the best world is one with free will.
Because God is good and has no darkness in Him, He could not/cannot create evil. He made evil possible when He made us, but we are the ones who make evil actual.
God’s ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are above our ways.
Even God’s wrath is wrapped in love. His judgment is a reflection of His goodness.
God is good all the time. All the time, God is good.
2. Jesus loves me.
The “Jesus Loves Me” song is every Sunday School’s anthem. We hear this every time we go to church. We see it all over Christian websites and bumper stickers and t-shirts. But do we really believe it?
Jesus’ love for us permeates the Bible. I LOVE YOU, He says. Not just on your good days, but every day.
Jesus isn’t disappointed in me. He isn’t upset with me. He is not mad at me. He loves me.
Nothing will ever be able to separate me from His love. I am His redeemed daughter and friend.
Yes, Jesus loves me (and you), for the Bible tells us so.
3. Scripture is true.
I read a lot of ugly stuff in the Bible.
Noah’s drunkenness. Dinah’s rape. Athaliah’s murder rampage. David’s adultery. John the Baptist’s beheading. Judas’ betrayal. Peter’s denial.
And that isn’t the half of it.
I also read a lot of stuff in the Bible that I didn’t necessarily like or agree with or understand.
Two boys killed by a bear for name-calling. God ordering hundreds and thousands of women and children to be killed during war-time. Instructions in approval of slavery.
But truth is often ugly. Truth doesn’t ask that we like it or agree with it. Truth only asks that we believe it. The Bible contains good, bad, and ugly stuff because it is full of the stories of imperfect humans whose lives all point to the perfect Christ. The Bible contains good, bad, and ugly stuff because our world is full of good, bad, and ugly stuff.
The Bible would not be of much help to us if all of it read like Psalm 23. If every character was like Enoch none of us would be able to relate to them.
I don’t understand how all the parts, pieces and chips that make up my computer work, but I still use it. I don’t understand all the parts of the Bible, but I still read it. Most importantly, I still believe it.
Scripture is true. Every word of it.