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Growing in Christ 4: Developing Our Communication – Listening to God

Growing in Christ Day 4: Developing Our Communication – Listening to God  

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. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV)

My brother-in-law once noted that I was “a bin of useless facts.” That’s pretty accurate. The ability to quote movie and TV show lines, remember obscure historical or geographical information, and give details of various sports/entertainment stats hasn’t really gotten me anywhere notable in life. The human brain is an interesting thing, though, because we all have certain areas in which we’re more knowledgeable, and people would come to us if they wanted to know something about those things. It could be cars, financial matters, fashion choices, makeup, cooking, shopping, and so on. If something really interests us, we’ll do our best to learn what we can about it. 

I wish I were “a bin of biblical knowledge.” Imagine if people needed to know something about the Bible and you were the first person they turned to. That would be quite the compliment! Here’s the thing, though: the Bible is the only way that God communicates with us. People can say God spoke directly to them through a bird, or the wind, or the ocean. I’m quite sure He didn’t. Instead, Scripture is “God-breathed,” and everything He intended to tell us is in the pages of the Bible. If I fill my life with prayer and never read the Bible, then my relationship with Christ is a one-way relationship. It needs to go both ways, and I need to develop both sides of this communication battery. I must speak to God, but I also need to listen for Him to speak to me. 

How do you go about it? The Bible is a lengthy book, after all, and it’s a tad deeper than the typical beach novel you can breeze through in a week. There are a few different approaches you can take, and there is good to be found in all of them, but I’ll say this first: the most important part is to read the Bible. The mechanics behind that are secondary. Read the Bible. Not a book about the Bible. Read the Bible. Books about the Bible and daily devotionals are nice (if they’re from a good source), but they aren’t the Word of God. Read the Bible. I would say it again, but I think you get the point! 

Regarding what approach to take, I guess it depends on how your brain is wired. Some people like to read through the Bible in a year. For the goal-oriented, this is a good approach. Some people like to read through a book at a time and read a companion study book along with it. For those wanting to connect more deeply with the text, this is a good approach. You probably won’t finish the Bible in a year, and that’s fine. Just keep reading. Get a plan and stick with it.

There are a few other considerations, too. When should you read? Read when your mind is fresh, which will allow you to give it the attention it deserves. Where should you read? Read where you will be free from distractions. How should you read? Read in whatever way suits you best. You can listen to someone else read it; you can read it on your phone; you can read an actual hard copy. Whichever way allows you to absorb it best, go with that. How long should you read? That’s up to you. Some people can read for hours on end and retain what they read. Some people can only read for a few minutes in order to retain what they read. If you’re retaining the Scripture, learning what it means, and putting it into practice, then you’re on the right track! 

Why should you read? The more we read, the more we learn who God is and who Jesus is. Again—this is God’s only written word to us. If I want to learn more of Him, grow closer to Him, and deepen my relationship with Him, then I’d better be doing what I can to hear what He says. That is only accomplished by reading and knowing His Word. And as noted in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, just look at how His Word can help us. The Bible is what we need for every scenario: to teach us, shape us, challenge us, correct us, and to train us for every good work. Other things we learn will train us for different work; some may be good, and some may be bad. But His Word will train us for every good work we seek to do. With that in mind, why wouldn’t I want to saturate my life and my mind with His Word?

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