Sometimes a simple way to read the Bible is to break a story down into tiny hunks. Then you can think about the story a little at a time.
This can help you notice what is sticking out to you within the story as you ponder how it might apply to your own life.
Here’s a glimpse at what it might look like to break a Bible story down a little at a time:
And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “let the dead bury their dead. But you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
That seems pretty harsh. But knowing what I know about Jesus, He is firm but always loving. So looking at it knowing this about Him I wondered what he is getting at.
Maybe it’s because, when you bury someone, you perform rituals, often with a spiritual undertone. So then could Jesus be saying here, if you’ve chosen me don’t turn back to those old pagan ways? Instead keep moving forward in the truth that Jesus has saved you from death.
“No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9)
These are pretty serious words Jesus speaks. When I read them, my heart is pulled over and over to the words “what was left behind.” What is Jesus talking about here?
The next paragraph says:
“And another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord but first let me say farewell to my family at home.’ To him Jesus said, ‘No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.’”
So what was Jesus saying here? Was this person wanting to go say goodbye to his family and settle up with his inheritance so he would have money to follow Jesus? Is Jesus saying come on, let’s just get going?
Again this “what was left behind” phrase is raised to my spirit, and I find myself asking Jesus, what is left behind in my own life?
As the story ends, I’m left wondering, what is the thing in my life I’m tempted to go back to rather than following Jesus moving forward?
The answer is simple, as it so often is.
When I listened, I heard Jesus speaking to my spirit: “Daughter, I say to you let good things grow in your heart. Let the old pass to the side of your path. You say to me you love, then be loving.”
It’s tempting to turn back to anger, jealousy, greed, unforgiveness. The opposite of all the ways Jesus is calling us.
So for me “what was left behind” in my life is anything opposed to Love. It makes sense. God is love. (Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:8)
So this is just one example of what it might look like if a regular person like me were trying to read the Bible, breaking down a story into tiny hunks.
A simple way to read the Bible:
- Scripture. Read slowly, a little at a time.
- Observe. Pay attention to words or phrases that stand out as you read.
- Understand. Think about how the story might apply to your life or what Jesus might be trying to talk to you about with those words.
- Learn. As you go about your day, let your mind wander back to this message and how Jesus might be trying to speak to you.
In this way, tackling Scripture a little at a time and applying it to your life, you can start to hear God and get to know Him a little better.