If you have attended the preconference at one of our Children Desiring God national conferences, you probably remember the teaching emphasis that “the Bible is first and foremost a book about God.” This emphasis can revolutionize the way you teach the Bible to children. But, has it also revolutionized your time with God in the Word?
In her book, Women of the Word, Jen Wilkin talks about “getting things backward” in her reading of the Bible. She states,
I held a subtle misunderstanding about the very nature of the Bible; I believed that the Bible was a book about me. I believed that I should read the Bible to teach me how to live and to assure me that I was loved and forgiven. I believed it was a roadmap for life, and that in any given circumstance, someone who truly knew how to read and interpret it could find a passage to give comfort or guidance. I believed the purpose of the Bible was to help me…
We are like Moses. The Bible is our burning bush—a faithful declaration of the presence and holiness of God. We ask it to tell us about ourselves, and all the while it is telling us about ‘I AM .’ We think that if it would just tell us who we are and what we should do, then our insecurities, fears, and doubts would vanish. But our insecurities, fears, and doubts can never be banished by the knowledge of who we are. They can only be banished by the knowledge of ‘I AM.’ We must read and study the Bible with our ears trained on hearing God’s declaration of himself.
Does this mean that the Bible has nothing to say to us about who we are? Not at all. We just go about trying to answer that question in a backwards way. The Bible does tell us who we are and what we should do, but it does so through the lens of who God is.¹
It is easy for us to get things backward, isn’t it? We are by nature very self-centered and need to be constantly reminded that God is the focus of all of life. How easy it is for us to compartmentalize our lives and get a God-focus in our study of the Word when preparing to teach but not in our devotional time. We can even teach a God-centered lesson…but not live in a God-centered way.
The hope is that as we are renewed in our minds little by little, we will be transformed in our lives (Romans 12:1-2). To that end, I would recommend Jen Wilkin’s book as a means to better study the Word through a God-centered focus.
¹Wilkin, Jen. Women of the Word. Copyright © 2014. Pages 24 and 26.