August 06, 2014

Reading the Whole Bible

Nehemiah 8:1-10

Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly… He read it aloud from daybreak till noon …
—Nehemiah 8:2-3


Sometimes we treat the Bible like a reference book. We use it to look up a verse here and there. Maybe we’re preparing to lead a Bible study, or looking for a proof text to argue a point of doctrine, or checking out some verses that inspired a friend.

But the Bible is a library of books, all meant to be read through, from Genesis to Revelation. I know some Christians who work on a plan—and many are available—to read the whole Bible. It takes discipline and perseverance, and there are places where its readability is tough going and its relevance is hard to discern. But this is the way God reveals his saving grace to us.

In Ezra and Nehemiah’s day, the Lord had led the Jewish exiles back to the land of Israel. Their punishment was ended, and the temple and the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt. Peace and prosperity flourished. But security and blessing depended on trusting and obeying God. That’s why Ezra read the Word to the people. Further in Nehemiah we find that great things resulted. The people humbled themselves, confessed their sins, renewed their covenant with the Lord, and pledged to serve him faithfully.

Today we have the privilege of having personal Bibles. Are we using them and growing in faith, hope, and love?

“You are my portion, LORD; I have promised to obey your words. I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise” (Psalm 119:57-58). Amen.

About the author — David Zandstra

David Zandstra is a retired pastor living in Marietta, Georgia, having served five churches from New Jersey to California. Along with other ministries, he counsels clients of a pregnancy resource center. He acknowledges his indebtedness to the training and resources of Peacemaker Ministries. David and his wife, Margie, have three children and six grandchildren.

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