Dine, Don’t Snack, on Scripture ~ Welcome to the Bible: Chapters and Verses Bring Convenience and Challenges ~ Part 3


Does this ever happen to you?

Life gets busy. Too busy to do much more than the most urgent, like drink coffee so you can do everything else.

Reading the Bible falls off your plan for the day.

And the next day.

And the next.

Ugh.

You move through the week and lament that you haven’t had time to read your Bible. But you don’t do anything about it.


It used to happen to me a lot.

Then a well-meaning friend encouraged me to simply read a verse or two each day saying, “It’s better than nothing.”

Brilliant.

Instead of sitting down for an extended time of reading a few days a week, I faithfully read a verse or two every day.

It was better than nothing.

Or so I thought.

Over time I noticed my relationship with God growing more and more shallow.

I didn’t know why. I missed the connection.

The Enemy of Best

It seems logical that a verse or two is better than nothing. But sometimes better is the enemy of best.

Imagine a pediatrician saying to the mother of a toddler, “You’re busy. It’s ok if you just feed your child a couple of bites of food a day. It’s better than nothing.”

Technically, the doctor would have a point. Two bites are better than no bites. But it’s not best.

Making time to feed children just enough food so they don’t starve to death is better than not making time to feed them at all. But this better situation is no friend of the child’s best.

Taking time out of a busy schedule to feed children well every day so they can grow strong and healthy is always best.

Surely every pediatrician would agree.

Chapters and Verses Entice Snacking

Because the Bible has been divided into chapters and verses, it’s easy for us to stop reading at the end of a verse.

The man-made divisions hint at a break in thought or action and make it easier to stop reading, but this isn’t the best way to read.

We don’t need to go back and remove the chapters and verses from our Bibles. We just need to resist the temptation to snack on Scripture rather than dine.

Should We Abandon All Snacking?

Snacking has its place – both in food and in verses.

Every day I read, pin, like, and heart memes of Bible verses on Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram.

And some days there really is no time for me to read more than a Bible verse meme. Let’s don’t abandon all spiritual snacking.

And certainly not edible snacks. I count the minutes until my 4:00 pm coffee and snack time. Sometimes I have it at 3:00 pm.

Hot chocolate chip cookies or fresh blueberries with a mug of coffee = Happiness.

But if the only food I ate every day was my 4:00 pm snack, my health would fail no matter how healthy my snacks are.

When scriptural snacks were my only source of spiritual nutrition, my relationship with God grew small. My faith, wimpy.

But once I began reading the Bible in all-you-can-eat buffet portions (and in context), my understanding of God and His character expanded. My walk with Him took off.

Imagine that.

My love for and faith in God hasn’t starved since. And they’re still growing as I keep dining on large servings of Scripture rather than snacking.

BTW, there’s no magic formula. No one can tell you how many verses are enough — except God. Let Him lead your time in His Word.

Is It Ever Good To Study Just a Verse or Two?

Absolutely.

It’s a great habit to dig deep into individual verses. To get to the marrow of its meaning.

I’m currently working my way through Romans. One verse at a time.

It’s taking a long while, but I want (need) to understand it better. So I focus each day on a few passages while remembering that reading verses in isolation rather than in context can lead to misunderstanding God’s message.

As I study Romans verse by verse, I also read a chapter or two to let the bigger picture of Romans soak into my mind. And I read other books of the Bible as well.

We shouldn’t become legalistic about our daily reading. It’s not a measure of our spiritual worth. We don’t win points with God when we read. Nor does He hand down demerits when we miss.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1 ESV.

No condemnation. None.

But God’s Word blesses us – changes us – when we read it.

You may have to force yourself to read it at first. But eventually, if you read the Bible in order to know the God of the Word, you’ll begin to long for the Word of the God.

Time in God’s Word will become as enticing as that morning cup of liquid heaven. (That’s coffee for me. I don’t know what you strange non-coffee drinkers enjoy.)

No Time? Pray and Make Time

Life is busy. It’s not likely to slow down.

Deal with it. (Was that too harsh? Sorry.)

Pray and ask God. He’ll make a way for you. He may wake you early to read. Or He may open up time for you to read during the day or evening.

We should all ask God to make us aware of the time we already have that we may be misspending watching TV, piddling on Social media, or catching a little extra shut-eye.

Trust God to enable you to accomplish all you need to do each day. Then walk by faith and make time for reading your Bible – even if you don’t think you have time.

God will provide all you need. But you have to trust Him by sitting down with your Bible.

Don’t wait for Him to sit you down. You’ll probably enjoy it more if you voluntarily sit down rather than having God sit you down.

My mom once told me I was too busy. “You need to drop some of your activities,” she said. I told her it was impossible. A couple of months later I had to have surgery. Somehow everything got done without me. She smirked, and I dropped some of my activities. I got sat down, and I listened.

Just as you’d make time to serve a child three full meals a day, make time every day to serve yourself one full meal of spiritual nourishment from God’s Word.

REMEMBER: Chapters and verses can encourage snacking on Scripture rather than dining. Make time to serve yourself a full meal from God’s Word by reading large portions of Scripture every day.

The Word of God Endures Forever

Chapter and verse divisions may not last, but the Word of our God will stand forever.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
~ Isaiah 40:8 ESV

Dine - don't snack - on Scripture. Why you should read more than a verse or two a day. #Biblestudy #GodsWord Click To Tweet





Welcome to the Bible: Chapters and Verses Bring Convenience and Challenges ~ Part 1 ~ Handy, But Not God-Inspired


Welcome to the Bible: Chapter & Verse Part 1 -- The Bible's Chapters and Verses are handy man-inspired tools, not God-Inspired division (www.JeanWilund.com)


John, Chapter 3, Verse 16

I bet you can quote John 3:16.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

You may know that verse, but do you know who to thank for giving it an address: John, chapter 3, verse 16?

Without the Bible broken down into books, chapters, and verses, it might resemble a novel — a mammoth one, like Leo Tolstoy’s 1,125-page novel War and Peace.

The Bible averages 1,200 pages.

Can you find the following quote in the Bible without my giving you the chapter and verse? And without using Google?

Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.”

No? Me neither.

That’s why we should celebrate Stephen Langton, Rabbi Mordecai Nathan, and Robert Stephanus.

Chapters and Verses


Around A.D. 1227, Stephen Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury and a University of Paris professor, divided the Bible into chapters.

I’m surprised it took over a thousand years to decide to do this.

Over 200 years later, the Jewish rabbi Mordecai Nathan took it further and divided the Hebrew Old Testament into verses in A.D. 1448.

Brilliant.

A mere 103 years later (in A.D. 1551), Robert Stephanus, a French printer, divided the New Testament into verses.

Hallelujah!

Thanks to Stephen, Mordecai, and Robert, the Geneva Bible — the first full Bible with both chapters and verses — rolled off the presses in A.D. 1560.

I don’t think anything actually “rolled off” the presses back then. I think they lifted off.

Great Convenience, Minor Challenges


Conveniences can be life-changing. Ah, the internet. So convenient.

But often, with the added convenience comes added problems. Yikes, the internet. So problematic.

When we practice caution, conveniences can be worth their challenges.

The challenges that come with chapters and verses in the Bible are easy to handle when we remember these three points:

  1. The Bible’s chapters and verses are handy man-inspired tools, not God-inspired division.

  2. Man-inspired chapters and verses can lead to misunderstanding the God-inspired text.

  3. Chapters and verses can encourage snacking on Scripture rather than dining.

Today, we’ll look at the first of the three points:


1. The Bible’s chapters and verses are handy man-inspired tools, not God-inspired division.


All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17

All scripture was inspired by God, but the division of chapters and verses wasn’t.

They’re handy, convenient, and effective tools, but don’t force spiritual meaning into man-made conveniences.

Few of us mean to do it, but it’s easy to fall into that trap. For instance . . .

God-Given vs Man-Forced Spiritual Meaning


In Scripture, God uses the number seven to symbolize divine perfection or completeness.

God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh after the world was perfect and complete (Genesis 2:2).

God commanded Joshua (and Israel) to march around Jericho seven times on the seventh day. Seven priests were to sound seven rams’ horns as they marched (Joshua 6:3-4).

God gave the number seven the spiritual meaning of divine perfection or completeness in the text of Genesis 2:2 and Joshua 6:3-4. He didn’t give the address that spiritual meaning.

And He didn’t make the seventh chapters or verses in any book more divinely perfect or complete than the other chapters and verses.

The number 40 in Scripture symbolizes trials and testing.

It rained for 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7:12).

Israel wandered the wilderness for 40 years (Deuteronomy 29:5).

Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days when the Holy Spirit led Him there to be tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1).

God infused the number 40 with spiritual meaning, but the fortieth chapters or verses in any book aren’t more trying than the others.

Don’t force spiritual meaning into man-inspired chapter and verse addresses in the Bible.

“Special Verses”


Another example of forcing spiritual value into the chapter and verse addresses is getting too excited about “special verses,” like the “center verse of the Bible.”

In some translations, Psalm 118:8 is the center of the Bible.

But since the King James Version has an even number of verses, the center falls between Psalm 118:8 and Psalm 118:9.

Who cares? The verse divisions weren’t given by God. The text was, but not the divisions.

Psalm 118 is a powerful chapter, but there’s no spiritual meaning to it containing the center of the Bible.


REMEMBER: Appreciate the breakdown of the Bible’s books into chapters and verses, but don’t force spiritual meaning into how they’re divided. They’re handy man-inspired tools, not God-inspired division.   


We’ll look at the next two points in my next two posts. Stay tuned.

Oh, and that quote from the Bible at the beginning of this post? It’s Jeremiah 1:9. (Thanks, Stephen, Mordecai, and Robert. Without you, it would’ve taken me a LONG time to find it.)


 




Be Still & Know – Praise Picture

Be still and know I am God - Psalm 46:10 via www.JeanWilund.com

Be still and know

God has a plan for you.

God is in control.

God loves you.

I AM

God

Be still and know . . . GOD #GodIsInControl #GodLovesYou Click To Tweet




Never Forget In The Dark What God Has Shown You In the Light

Never Forget in the Dark What God Has Shown You In The Light (Praise Picture)


Never forget in the dark what God has shown you in the Light.

Remember Truth.

It never changes. God never changes.

Read these verses to help you remember the light of truth in the darkness of night.


You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light.
~ 2 Samuel 22:29 NIV

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
~ Matthew 24:35 NASB

Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
~ Psalm 119:105 NASB
kamagra online kaufen

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
~ John 8:32 NIV

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:21 NASB

 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NIV

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.
~ Ephesians 3:20 NIV


Never Forget In The Dark What God Has Shown You In the Light #Christ #Faith #Truth Click To Tweet




Ah Lord God! Nothing is Too Difficult For You

Ah Lord God! Nothing is too difficult for You. That's our hope, joy and promise (Jeremiah 32:17) Praise Picture for the New Year (via www.JeanWilund.com)

Ah Lord God!

That’s how I feel as I face the New Year.

Ah! (Insert Smiley Face)

As the sun sets on 2016 and rises on 2017, let’s look to this exciting truth for our hope and joy this year:

Ah Lord God!
Behold,
You have made
the heavens and the earth
by Your great Power
and
by Your outstretched arm!
NOTHING
is too Difficult
for You.

(Jeremiah 32:17)

Bring on 2017!


Ah Lord God . . .Nothing is too difficult for You. Bring on 2017! Click To Tweet additional info