I don’t really read the Bible all by myself very often. I read the Bible, most definitely, but I almost always bring another author (or two. or three. or four.) along with me.
Last night, I was discussing this fact with my husband.
Me: “I just don’t get it by myself.”
FirstHusband: “I find that hard to believe.”
Me: “Seriously. I’ll read the Bible, and I’ll get some of what I read, but then I read something someone wrote about what I’ve read and I’ll think, ‘ohhhh! yeah! I missed that!’ or ‘huh. I never considered that.'”
When I read the Bible without reading any other book or commentary, I always feel like there’s MORE, if I could just find it . . . so I go looking for it. Matthew Henry’s commentaries have always been a go-to for me. Lewis, Chambers, Yancey, Nouwin and an unending list of authors like Bruce Wilkinson, Garry Friesen, Bill Hybels, Lee Strobel, John Ortberg, Andy Stanley, Gordan McDonald, John Piper, Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer . . . all these authors have prompted me to look at scripture more closely than I would have on my own. To find more meaning than I was able to find on my own.
What’s wrong with that? It’s like I’m part of a big ol’ reading group with all these thinkers, who just so happened to write down what they were thinking. We’re all reading the Bible, regardless of when or where we live(d), and we’re having a discussion about what we’re reading. And ya know THEY’RE quoting authors they read while they were formulating their thoughts.
It’s not like I don’t bring something to the table too. Often I come away with thoughts derived from a combination of what I read in the Bible, what I read in a book and what I believe the Holy Spirit revealed to me during my prayer time.
I just don’t like to go at it alone. I. want. MORE.
So am I saying the Bible isn’t enough for me?
FirstHusband has challenged me to stretch – outside my comfort zone – and read JUST the Bible. He suggested I read Nehemiah.
I immediately replied, “That’s what Visioneering by Andy Stanley is about! The entire book centers around Nehemiah and how his vision relates to us toda…”
FirstHusband was shaking his head. “No. don’t do it. Don’t read Visioneering. Just read Nehemiah.”
Me: “All by itself?”
Him: “Yes. You said you wanted to stretch yourself. So stretch.”
Me, with underwhelming enthusiasm: “fine.”