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"Where did this Bible come from?"

This was the question I asked my wife last week after she cleaned out a bookshelf. With a slight glance to the stack of books around it she answered, "I'm pretty sure it's yours." She was right; it was mine.

Then I did what any bibliophile would do, I tore open the box that housed it with the eagerness of a kid on Christmas morning. Then I paused and wondered, Is this mine? I couldn't remember it. I began thumbing through the Bible and found my pencil notes and annotations throughout. I was confused and intrigued.

Let's put aside the question of a 40-year-old guy who can't remember reading through and marking up his Bible, let alone paying money to buy it. Instead, I want to focus on the subtle but persistent effect the Word of God has on us.

Since then, I have been reading this Bible each morning, and as I do I come across underlined verses and notes. As I read these verses they ring the bell in my heart. I may not remember the circumstances in my life when I underlined the verse or wrote an observation next to it, but my heart sings with a sanctified reflex. Sometimes I'll read the verse and an observation will bubble up to the surface, and then I look and see something similar written in the margin. It's as if the Holy Spirit is a skilled craftsman who pushes the mortar deep into the cracks and crevices of my heart. The verses are precious to me not in a general sense but in a particular sense. In other words: my mind may not remember the details of my life at the time, but my mind and heart have retained the preciousness of the truth contained in the text.

I write this post to you by way of encouragement. You may pick up an old Bible from 5, 10, or 30 years ago and have the same experience. Or, at least, you may have forgotten that you had made a note on a particular verse. But here's the thing: God uses your regular exposure to the Word of God to mold you into the image of his Son. Your faithful reading of and meditation upon the Bible makes grooves. And the wheels of your life ride along in these tracks. You might think, What's the big deal if I don't read my Bible and pray today? The big deal is this, you are missing out. You are missing out on being exposed to the gloriously infinite treasure of the Scripture. And you are missing out upon the privilege of God pressing down the mortar of his Word into your life with all of the force of your current circumstances and emotions. You are missing out on the supernatural compound effect of Bible reading in sanctification.

Don't read your Bible today just to move the bookmark ahead. Instead, read the Bible to be affected by the Word of God. Let God lift your chin above the horizon of this world to see the glorious day of the new creation dawning before you.

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2 thoughts on “God’s Subtle Work in Your Bible Reading”

  1. Mike P says:

    The same thing happened to me right before deploying! I was also intrigued by all the notes I had made inside from years before to include when emmaus was a small “campus” and I found notes on Colossians!! Thanks for the post!

  2. Kate Brand says:

    Loved the blog and have had the same experience of wondering why I underlined, starred and put exclamation points by specific verses. So now what I do is to put the date and a short phrase, or even long description, of the circumstances and how God used the verse! (I have a Bible with BIG margins). Many times the same verse has multiple dates and circumstances sited. As a result, my Bible is not only my daily Word from God – but my journal highlighting major seasons of my life.

    Loved your last paragraph summary. Thanks so much!

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Erik Raymond

Erik Raymond is senior pastor of Emmaus Bible Church in Omaha, Ne. He and his wife Christie have six children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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