Bible Study Basics: God First.

It is entirely possible to live with someone and never see them. Most parents understand this to a degree. Our children often have no earthly idea who we are outside of being parents.

Discussing parent-teen relationships in Sunday school once, this truth bomb was dropped: your parents are not just alive for you. They will have a life before and after you. My teens were shocked. It never occurred to most of these kids that the center of the universe wasn’t (or shouldn’t) be themselves.

I’ve been guilty of looking at Scripture much the same way, and I suspect you have as well. We look inside this big Book and try to root around for a morsel that will help us, that will change us, that will teach us about us.

But that is so not what the Bible is about. Don’t get me wrong, we will find help and transformation and self-reflection as we study the Word. It is a wonderful by product of fixing our gaze on the main subject: God.

We must start reading scripture looking for God.

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He’s on every page. He is in every account. His message is pressed into every word that was breathed out and inscribed (2 Peter 1:21). He didn’t have holy men write out His words simply to reveal the temporal world. He wrote it so we could know Him personally.

He made all this. Genesis 1 tells us so. He spoke and it happened. It all has purpose and meaning and worth because God declared it all good in those first six days of history.

If I want to know about a work of art, I must know something of its creator. If I try to interpret without knowing the of the artist, I am missing out on much of the significance in the message of the masterpiece.

Much the same is true of our Maker. He brings significance to creation. To know Him is to know more about… everything. And since He made mankind in His own image, when we read about God in His revealed Word, we actually do learn about ourselves in the process.

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”‭‭‬

Genesis‬ ‭1:26-27

In Eden, we find that God had a close relationship with Adam and Eve. Genesis 3:8 implies that He walked with them on a regular basis or in a way that they were familiar with. We were intended to have a personal relationship with our Creator. But sin marred that once close relationship.

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Part of God revealing himself to us in the Bible is the desire for a relationship again. Let me be clear: God did not make us because He needed us. He was not lonely. He was not needy. He made us because it delighted Him to do so.

It delights God that we hunger to know more of Him. The desire to study a person is a mark of a growing relationship with that person.

When my kids started in their new school, they didn’t know the other kids very well. They had not relationship. As the year progressed, I would hear all the information they learned about their classmates. Eventually those classmate became friends. They formed a relationship based on mutual knowledge of one another.

God has the upper hand in my relationship with Him: He made me. He literally knows my thoughts as I am thinking them. He is aware of my frailty and my secrets. He knows me on a personal level.

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:1-4‬ ‭

Because of the sin that blocks my vision, I have more legwork to do to gain knowledge of Him. It’s not that God makes it extremely difficult to know Himself. I make it difficult.

Sometimes, I just am not motivated to pursue the knowledge, the relationship. Perhaps I have sin issues that blur my concept of who God is. A heart of pride can make relationship building hard, because we are so focused on self that we don’t have the capacity to see God until we remove ourselves from the equation.

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The possibilities are endless.

But in the end, God wants us. He wants us to know Him so we can have a meaningful relationship with Him. And our knowledge of God comes from the source that He provides- His Word. His “Autobiography”. And since God is incapable of lying (Titus 1:2), we can rely on His accounting of Himself.

Jen Wilkin said it best in her book, Women in the Word. “The heart cannot love what the mind does not know.” We cannot truly love something or someone we know very little about. God knows that. He has given us these 66 books wrapped into one to show us Himself so we can truly love Him.

So as you read the Word, look for God. Look at His attributes. See how He interacts with His creation. Look for His plan of redemption stamped on every page. The gaze fixed on God puts everything else in the right place.

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