In all your Bible reading, focus on the centrality of God — especially Christ.
In other words, have a goal in reading the Bible to say, “I want to see God. I want to see Christ. I don’t want to just get stuck on the genealogies or the five smooth stones, or whatever — five loaves and two fish. I want to know something about Christ from this event, something about God from this event because it’s seeing the glory of God that is the fire of our joy.”
“That’s my Lord. That’s my Christ. That’s the way I want to be. That’s what I admire.”
So, when you read the Gospels, for example — and I think you ought to be reading the Gospels probably every day. Have you ever wondered, “Why are there four of them?” I think there are four of them just because the early church wanted to know, “Who is he?” You preach this Christ. I mean, you go up to Antioch, or Iconium, or Rome, or Corinth, or Athens, and you say, “Jesus came, died, rose.” Jesus who? They don’t know anything. And so, the Gospels: God ordains that there be four portraits of this Jesus, and we need to see him.
And so, as you read them, ask, “Who are you? What are you like? What do you say?” Get to know him so that when you have the heart attack singing a hymn someday, and you meet him ten seconds later, he won’t be a surprise. You will have known him so well, it will be climax — it will be consummation. “Yes! Yes! That’s the way I expected you to look because I heard you talk so often. I saw you do so many things.”
I made a list here of examples for me. This is the sort of thing I’m on the lookout for when I read the Gospels or the Bible in general.
- “All authority in heaven and on earth is mine.”
- “Before Abraham was, I am.”
- “Something greater than Solomon is here.”
- “Lazarus! Come forth!” And the dead man obeys.
- “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
- “Are you the Christ? Son of the living God? Son of the Blessed?” “I am.” That’s the clearest statement he ever made, at the most impossible moment to believe it. “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with glory.”
Oh, what a word. I mean, you go to the Bible looking for statements and say, “That’s my Lord. That’s my Christ. That’s the way I want to be. That’s what I admire. That’s what thrills me about Jesus.” You just have to be on the lookout.
Read, watch, or listen to the full message: