Last Sunday, I got convicted of a bad reading habit.
I admit, when I found out that in our study of Luke, we’d be spending an entire sermon on Mary’s Magnificat, I was a little unenthused. I’ve read that thing a million times, and it’s a nice little song and all, but seriously, a whole sermon on it?
Prepared to be bored, I got out my iTouch and readied it for multi-tasking. I read my Bible on it during church, so it’s pretty easy to surreptitiously switch over to another program without anyone noticing. Bad habit, I know.
But our pastor proceeded to give a great sermon, explaining just why this little portion of scripture was worthy of our attention. For example, did you know that young Mary expounds on 17 attributes of God in her song? There’s an entire theology wrapped up in those nine verses (Luke 1:46-55). She also demonstrates the right attitude to present when facing trials, something especially handy these days.
And here I was, guilty of glossing over this section, time and time again. It made me wonder if I’ve ever really tried to understand it. I’d simply took it at face value, as a cute song of thanks, and moved onto more interesting things (in this case, John the Baptist’s birth).
I’m recognizing that if I’m to believe that the Bible is God’s word, I’ve got to realize that means all of it, even Leviticus (which has worked in the past for me as an excellent insomnia cure). By glossing over some parts and picking others as more worthy, my reading habits indicate that I’m not devoted to the whole of it.
So what’s a Bible glosser to do? I haven’t quite figured this part out. But I think it’s going to require a serious effort to study all of it, not just my favorite bits. Perhaps it will involve heavy use of my footnotes, which help clue me into why boring parts shouldn’t be so boring. I’ve got a great version with excellent footnotes, the ESV Study Bible, and I need to be taking advantage of the additional information it provides.
But most importantly, I think it’s a matter of attitude and of thirst. If I’m easily quenched by the obvious, surface stuff, I’m missing out on another level of teaching, reproof, correction, training in righteousness, and equipping (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
And I want more. I want the full Word and all its power to pierce the division of my soul and spirit and discern the thoughts and intentions of my heart (Hebrews 4:12).
I won’t settle for less.