A friend asked me recently, “how do you read Scripture…?” The first thing that came to mind is that I read it relationally and for the heart. In relationship, we come to know another and be known.
God desires relationship with us (take a peek at my previous post, Love is Relational, for more on this). And as we grow in relationship with God, knowing Him and His love for us, we naturally grow in loving and relating with people.
I read Psalm 138 this morning, and I’ll share an outline of what relational reading looks like for me. As I read along, phrases catch my heart and I think on them or respond with prayer.
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“I give thanks to you, O Lord, with my whole heart…” ~verse 1
“You give all good things. Thank You, Lord, for…” and, “I am quick to forget all the good…”
“… my strength of soul you increased…” ~verse 3
“You are the source for what I need today…”
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life…” ~verse 4
“I bring my day and my troubles to You…”
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O lord, endures forever.” ~verse 8
“Help me be faithful with the part that is mine to live out. And mostly, to remember in trust that it is You who are accomplishing things in my life!”
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In relationship, we spend time together and get to know each other.
As I read Psalm 138, I come to know God’s character and am reminded of who He is. He is the Giver of good gifts, the Source of my strength, and the One who fulfills His purposes in my life.
As I read, I also bring my real self to Him in order to be known by Him. I bring my needs, troubles, and all that is on my heart and mind. As I do this He meets me there and speaks love, encouragement, and growth into my heart and life.
Overall, Scripture is meant to draw us into relationship with the living God and His son, Jesus. Reading relationally is built on the foundation of an accurate interpretation of Scripture. But reading only for knowledge is insufficient. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40). Scripture and knowledge is not the end in itself, but a way God has revealed Himself to us so we can pursue relationship with Him.
As we read scripture relationally, it creates space for God to work authentic change in our hearts and lives! The place where my real self connects with the living God is where transformation happens. The result is growing up into Christ-likeness and living out our days more fully reflecting His love.
In the next post, I’ve shared three practical ideas you can use to read the Bible relationally.
How do you read Scripture? What is your experience of knowing Him, being known by Him, and experiencing His love?