Is Your Bible Study Self-Centered?

Originally published Tuesday, 17 January 2017.

Who is God?

What is He like? What does He do and what pleases Him? What is His order of things and what does He require?

So often we come to our Bible devotions pretty self-centered.

Answer me. Encourage me. Teach me. Help me.

Because of course, we are the suns of our own Lilliputian galaxies.

When all along God has given us His Word as a stunning revelation of Who He is.

Yes, God will meet need and teach us and encourage us, but there is something far greater: when we open our Bibles, we worship the One who fashioned the galaxy, who is infinitely beyond this galaxy and yet makes Himself known to us.

We read our Bible to know Who God is, what He does and how we can align our lives to Him.

When Jesus pierced time to dwell on earth, he came to a religious people who knew about him, but didn’t know him. The Jewish elite could keep the law like nobody’s business but they could not comprehend a God above the law.

Their tight little boxes of Who God is did not fit cleanly around Jesus.

They constantly challenged him:

  • How can you say you forgive sins?1
  • Why do you eat with sinners?2
  • Why don’t your disciples fast like our disciples?3
  • Why are your disciples picking grain on the Sabbath?4
  • How dare you break the Sabbath by healing on it?!5

John 5 tells of Jesus coming to the pool of Siloam in Jerusalem. When he saw a man who’d been lame for 38 years lying there, Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well and then healed him, commanding him to pick up his mat and walk.

Why did Jesus heal this man? He hadn’t even asked for it. Nothing is said about Jesus healing any of the other paralyzed and lame lying at that same pool.

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I believe this man’s healing – compassionate as it was – was secondary to Jesus’ real work: revealing Who He is.

When I read this story, my heart is immediately drawn to what Jesus can do for me. He can heal me. He can take care of my need. He can reach down in my pain and take it away.

Yes, He can.

But if I stop there, I’m stuck in the claustrophobic cosmos of my own need.

Jesus is revealing Himself in this passage and we are the lame if we miss it.

This passage explodes with declaration of Who Jesus is.

Jesus revealed His authority as the Son of God. Second person of the Trinity. All-powerful. All-worthy. All holy. So far outside the bounds of the law and yet the only true Righteousness who could fulfill the law’s righteous requirements.

And suddenly, magnifying God for Who He is realigns the trajectory of my heart and thoughts. I can worship and adore and enjoy and marvel. I can repent and grieve and realign so that my life revolves around His.

And my need? My fear? My worry? Only when I know Who God is can I rest in Him with every need, fear and worry.

No more 15 minutes of Bible reading to see what You have for me.
No more coming to You to meet me.
No more reading Your Word to affirm me.

No more self-centered Bible study.

Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. (John 17:3)

This is part of the 100 Days for Christ Bible study series. Subscribe here to download your own free copy of the 100 Days for Christ Bible reading plan and journal. And join me on Instagram at #100dayswithchrist for more encouragement.

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Mark 2:7
Matthew 9:11
Matthew 9:14
Matthew 12:1-2
John 5:16-18