When I first got married, one of the scariest pieces of married life for me was cooking. I hadn’t ever really done it, and certainly I had never done it well. Then there I was, living with another human who was relying on me for dinner every night! Sure I had made spaghetti (noodles, canned pasta, the end), or the occasional bland, dry chicken breast with over-steamed broccoli, but this was not what was expected of me. This husband of mine expected real food. What was I to do? How was I to learn? Who was going to teach me?
I began the way I am sure most of you did — with a cookbook. I searched through the cookbook to find the recipes with fewer than 10 ingredients, skipping any with words that I didn’t understand (i.e. “saute”, “deglaze”, “mirepoix”, etc.), and began my journey to chef-dom. I was glued to the book. During an evening’s preparation, I would never be far from the open pages, always returning again and again as I sought the next ingredient, step, or instruction. I was so in awe of those on television — not even glancing at a recipe before seemingly haphazardly throwing ingredients together (with no measuring cups in sight). How was it possible? Where did they gain this confidence? And the answer is simple: repetitive obedience to the recipes brings confidence. And it is the same thing for us as we journey through the Bible.
The Bible is God’s Word, given to us centuries ago, and yet still relevant to our lives today. The first way that Scripture is meant to change us is through salvation. 2 Timothy 3:14-15 says, “you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” As we first open the pages of the Bible, we should be glued to it as we search for the Christ, in whom we can have faith. We should cling to each verse, each chapter, knowing that only through His Words can we be made “wise for salvation”. The Bible will lead us, step by step, to an understanding of who God is, how desperately in need of Him we are, and how the Creator of the Universe stepped out of heaven and dwelt among us for the sole purpose of reconciling a sinful people back into relationship with Himself. When I begin my faith journey, my first step of obedience is to respond to Jesus Christ’s gift of salvation through His death and resurrection. This ingredient is the most important, and without it the rest of the Bible will have little effect on our daily life. Salvation begins a work in us that will continue throughout our lives.
2 Timothy isn’t done there; however, and neither are we! 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Scripture is not simply needed for the truth about salvation, but for our daily life! Just as I began to memorize my favorite recipes in my cookbook, so am I to repetitively obey the words in the Bible. Each day, we should look to the open pages of God’s Word and find there the steps for living a God-centered life. As we begin to delve deeper into the Bible, we see the instructions to abide (John 15:4), to stand (Ephesians 6:11), to be transformed (Romans 12:2), and so many other recipes we must begin to understand. Obedience to these words will begin to change us from a frightened newly wed, unprepared to feed her spouse into a seasoned cook, who is confident in the steps she takes. What a joy to know that we can have the same heart as the author of Hebrews when he pens, “So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid” (Heb 13:6). We rest in the truth that God’s Word will supply the path to a deeper understanding of The Most High and a closer relationship with Him.
So how should we read the Bible? We should read it with an expectation for change. It is “a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105). Scripture is a direct connection to the King, and we should live by “making the most of every opportunity” as we “understand what the Lord’s will is” (Ephesians 5:16-17).