It’s always an exciting time of the year when students get their yearbooks. Anticipation rises for so many as they hope to receive endearing messages that they can keep forever.
When you receive a yearbook, you know where to turn first – the back. By flipping to the index, you feverishly search for one word on a particular page – your name. By your name is a list of a page or pages in which your picture graces the layout. Immediately, you go to those specific pages to see yourself in the book without ever fully seeing the thought that the editor put into the layout.
People read the yearbook as if they are the main characters. We treat the Bible the same way.
When You Are the Main Character of the Bible
Think about it. Most people read the Bible by turning to the back and finding a particular subject with which they are currently struggling. “Where’s a verse on encouragement?” “Is there a Bible verse on loneliness?” “Is there a passage to help my self-esteem?”
Basically, we are asking, “What page am I on?!”
Let me help you with a basic understanding of this particular book – the Bible is not about you. It is not your yearbook. You are not the main character.
Before you get discouraged, let me fill you in with greater news: the Bible’s main character is way more interesting, powerful, noteworthy, and time-consuming than you are. And that’s a good thing not a bad thing! Focusing on him can encourage you far more than focusing on yourself will ever do!
Does the Bible speak about us? Absolutely! Does the Bible speak to us? No doubt! It is living and active (Heb. 4:12)! But the Bible’s main character is God (John 1:1) and the main theme is how he is working reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:20) among the nations (Is. 49:6) so that the earth will be filled with the knowledge of his glory (Hab. 2:14)!
If you go to the back of the book and only search for the pages and the verses that you think apply to you in that moment, you miss the way the editor put this book together. Honestly, if you approach the Bible in that manner, you reduce the power of the message.
It is also a growing trend for churches to preach the Word like it is a yearbook. The practice is easy to detect when a preacher seems to want to get his personal, creative idea across and has “found a verse” to support it.
Reading the Bible with God as the focus rather than you as the focus allows you to see the big picture of what God is doing. And yes, you fit in there. You are a dear part concerning the message of the Bible.
The beauty of reading the entirety of the Bible allows you to fit into what God is doing and not try to get him to bless what you are doing.
Bible Reading Plan
I love getting people to read more of the Bible than they have before.
What my attempts in the past have shown me is that so many have never read significant portions of the Bible. Many people hopscotch around the Word and unfortunately miss the beauty and brilliance with which God put it together.
If you don’t have a reading plan, I would love to invite you to start this one. It’s not a perfect plan, but it’s better than no plan. And a comprehensive plan fights against the tendency to make even Bible reading about ourselves.
Psalm 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
13 With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.