Galatians 5:25 states that since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. This means that we need to live our life in the way which God is leading us. One of the important spiritual disciplines is reading the Bible. We need to remember that the Bible was written by real people in real places.
The early parts of the Bible were originally passed down through oral tradition. The Old Testament was written down between 1500-4 BC. God would tell His people to write what happened down and these collected writings were kept in the Temple. In 586 BC, the Temple was destroyed by conquering Babylon and in 539 BC, the Persians began to allow the Jewish people to return to their homeland. The prophet Ezra began to collect all the writing he could find and they were stored in the rebuilt Temple. The New Testament was written about the life of Jesus and the early church after Jesus’ death.
Scripture emerges as a process. There are two aspects of the Bible: human and divine. It was written by real people about real events. It is also God’s Word to His people. This is why it is called God-inspired. 2 Peter 1:20-21 says that no prophecy of Scripture came through the prophets’ own interpretations of things; the source is from God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states that all Scripture is God-breathed. It is useful to teach, rebuke and correct so that God’s servants can be equipped for good works.
It can be useful to think of it like a musical instrument, such as a trumpet. It is the result of both the player and the instrument working together; however, the ultimate source is from God. In Genesis 2:7 it states that God formed man from dust and breathed into him the breath of life. Scripture is God’s means of breathing life into us.
Do you read the Bible to look for principles or for transformation? Looking at Luke 15, the story of the prodigal son, one could read this story and think, “what are the principles we could learn from this?” You could glean that it is important to be forgiving and loving, much life the father was to his returned son. Then you would go about the rest of your day.
However, if you instead read the Bible to transform your life, you need to look at the story as being about you. The Bible is your story. You need to enter into the story and see with what characters you identify. Are you the older brother who is bitter? Are you the trouble-making younger brother? This is what will transform you. Joshua 1:8 says to keep this Book of the Law and meditate on it day and night. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says that these commandments are to be in your hearts. We are to tell our children about them, talk about them at home, on the road, when we lie down and when we get up. The Bible is your story.