In 1998 when I asked God to take my life and do whatever He needed to do to make me useful for His Kingdom, He said, "Get your Bible open and start studying. You're going to need it." I had been in church all my life but never read the Bible for myself. It seemed boring. Confusing. Irrelevant to my life in the real world. I was wrong.
I've been reading the Bible for myself for about 12 years now. I started in the Old Testament - Proverbs, Psalms, and then a series of chapters that took me through the history and stories. Believe it or not, those readings took over seven years. Occasionally I moved to some books in the New Testament. Mark, Luke, Acts and James come to mind. But today I started reading the book of John. With my study guide, I'm estimating a 7-month journey.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
As usual, my initial thought was, "Darn. Just one verse to read today." But oh, what a verse! Accompanied by my "professor" William Barclay, and others waiting to chime in - Chambers, Cowan, Wiersbe - it feels like a door has been opened - just a tiny crack - and a bright, no blinding light of realization is shining through. What understanding is in store for me!
I've always thought I understood: Jesus is God. But Barclay explains it like this, "Jesus is so perfectly God - in mind, in heart - that we perfectly see what God is like. Jesus alone has perfectly revealed to men all that God always was and always will be, and all that God feels and desires for me." When I look at Jesus, I look right at God. And then a song filled my heart.
"Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature's night; Thine eye diffused a quick'ning ray. I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; My chains fell off, my heart was free; I rose, went forth and followed Thee. Amazing Love, how can it be? That Thou my God shouldst die for me?" ~ Charles Wesley