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Eight Months of Storing My Bible In My Heart Instead of On My Shelf

Updated: May 4, 2021

Eight Months of Storing My Bible In My Heart Instead of On My Shelf

Jennifer Liao

I love to read. When it comes to books, I can devour a fiction novel in days and go right on to the next. I love getting my hands on the latest nail-biter that is filled with intriguing characters and surprise twist endings. But when it comes to the Bible, my motivation wanes quickly. I have approached Bible reading as a chore and put it off until the last minute when I would rush through the passages and check it off my mental to-do list. In fact, if I’m being completely honest, Bible reading and studying has really fallen off my priorities for me in the last five or six years. My trusty leather Bible has laid beside my work computer as I guiltily tried to ignore the dust gathering on its cover.

Enter 2020. When the church set up an easy to consume, bite-sized, two-year Bible reading plan, I thought to myself - I can probably handle this. I loved that it was five readings in a week, meaning if I forgot one day I could have two days to catch up. I also liked that each reading would take less than 15 minutes, making it seem more like a small reprieve in my day rather than a laborious task that I would begrudgingly and tiringly complete. As I started reading, I began to see small things I never noticed before. Hebrews 4:12 wasn’t kidding when it said, “The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword.” I could read my novels over and over and the same thing would happen - the characters never evolving, the twists no longer twisty, but reading the Bible over and over reveals new and interesting tidbits and pierces my soul in different ways.

I reached out to Michelle Son, and we agreed to text each other daily (if possible) to share what we learned or researched on those hard to understand passages. It was very interesting to see what I got from certain days versus what she did. Sometimes she would send me neat blog posts or commentaries that paired with our daily readings; and honestly some days we just replied with a simple, “I read today, but don’t have much to say.” Even something as quick as that kept us accountable in our commitment to reading the Bible.

Revisiting stories that I haven’t read since I was a kid was almost like meeting old friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. Viewing the stories through the lens of an adult and a parent changed my perception. I no longer looked at the Israelites leaving Egypt on their long and endless journey as whiny and unfaithful but instead saw them with sympathy. I read about them carrying all their possessions, never sleeping in the same place for too long, eating the same thing over and over, and thought I would be no better. I am no better. I read about the people looking upon Noah with scorn and derision as he built a huge structure for years and years and wondered: would I step out in faith like that if it meant being laughed at? I read about Samson and no longer shook my head at his mental and emotional weaknesses and how he never seemed to learn from his mistakes. How often have I made the same errors over and over? I saw the faithfulness of Ruth as she clung on to Naomi, leaving a life and land she always knew to be with her mother-in-law. Would I be able to do that? I don’t even like driving beyond my ten-minute bubble!

My understanding has also grown as we travel back and forth between the Old and New Testaments. Reading about laws upon laws about every item you can imagine - what you could and couldn’t eat, what you could touch, and how you should sacrifice (it felt like those chapters went on for weeks!), but all this was paralleled with the simple understanding that Jesus is enough. Jesus came down to fulfill the rules and regulations through His life, death, and resurrection.

Through every story, every law, every teaching, the thread of Jesus, who was and is and is to come, shines through. It is a constant undercurrent weaving in and out of each book of the Bible. I can’t say that reading everyday always brings constant joy to my sinful, grumpy heart, but I do know that the Word is alive. It is powerful. It is relatable. It is transformative.

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