Why I read the Bible wrong.
Matthew 13:1-23 : 1 Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. 2 A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. 3 He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. 4 As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. 5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! 9 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” 10 His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?” 11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I use these parables,
For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. 14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,
‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. 15 For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’
16 “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it. 18 “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: 19 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. 20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. 23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
For years I have been a passionate advocate of Bible reading, encouraging Christians to read the Bible way more often, to open themselves up to be changed by God, to seek to draw closer into the presence of God.
I started this blog in response to a calling from God to go way deeper into His Word which has evolved into the following basic format:
– Ask for forgiveness for sin
– Pray that God would reveal His will through my time in the Word
– Dwell in the passage for a while, including looking at the greek and hebrew behind the passage
– Write up my reflection.
Well that is about to change. After reading this passage and reflecting on my life right now I realise that I am missing one very big step.
Spending time most days immersed in the Bible is not enough. I realised that I am one of those who, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. (v.15) The act of looking and listening, or of spending time reading the Word is not enough. It is possible to stare at the words of the Bible and not see the power within them.
I realise that I am The seed that fell among the thorns which represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. (v.22) Yes I am reading the Word and being challenged and learning heaps but their is little to show in my own life of my time in the Word. And the reason is spot on with what v.22 shares: I am just too busy, focused on earning money, preoccupied with the challenges and worries of my life. Producing my journey deeper blog is another task in a busy day, a box to tick.. and yet it needs to be the central task, reading and understanding the Bible needs to be way more of priority in my life. And not in terms of time but in terms of seeking to really understand what God’s Word is saying for me.
Verse 23 reads: The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
When I was at high school I attended many classes in Maths. I would have sat through hundreds of hours of lectures, read a range of articles and books and undertaken lots of assessments. And yet I really had no idea what was going on! Just because I attended the classes in maths does not make me a mathematician. And then there was Theatre Arts, where I attended the same number of classes, did the same range of assessments and did very well with one of the scripts I wrote being used as an example for all students across state of Western Australia for years to come. I also became part of the Western Australian Youth Theatre Company. So what was the difference?
With maths I just turned up, tuned out and proceeded to be utterly bored. With Theatre Arts I turned up, engaged fully and loved it!
I need to engage more with my Bible reading, I need to fall in love with the Word, with the process of learning of hearing and understanding the Bible, to the point that I yearn for my time with God, just as I couldn’t wait to do Theatre Arts at school.
So my heart really needs to change, I need to move from Bible reading being just another job to it being a joy. And reading this passage is a massive wake up call, if I really want my faith to grow (thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times v.23) then I really need to want to change.
So today is a new stage, a new beginning in my journey with God, not only am I going to spend time in the Word, but I am going to add another step to my process by working out: how will I apply this learning to my life?
I praise you God!! I am ready to change!!
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Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan
The portion for today is: 1 Kings 10-13; Psalm 69-71
To access the complete plan for the year click