Scripture 101: Where to BeginRead Now
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” –Colossians 3:16
How do you get to know Jesus the person? How do you get to know God? The Holy Spirit?
As Catholics, we are called into an intimate relationship with Christ. Jesus wants for us to know him, and so he left us with the gift of the Eucharist so that we would never be without his physical presence. God can reach us in the silence of his presence. Even so, sometimes it is hard to know what God is saying to us, and it can be difficult to interpret God’s will for our lives.
One way of building an intimate relationship with God and interpreting his will is by letting the word of Christ dwell richly within us (cf. Col. 3:16). It is in Scripture that we can get to know Jesus the person: his thoughts, his stories, and his deep love for us. The Bible is important because it is where we can study God, get to know him, and understand his will for our lives. He has left us with words of instruction, comfort, welcome, prayer, and love. Knowing the words of God, his Son, his prophets, and his saints can guide us through life’s joys, trials, and periods of stillness. In the Word of God, we can hear God speaking to us in ways that answer our prayers and help prepare us to be apostles.
St. Paul told Timothy that knowing Scripture was essential for living a life of faith:
“From infancy you have known [the] sacred scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” -2 Timothy 3:15-17
By “letting the word of Christ dwell in [us] richly,” we can better know Jesus and become more fully “equipped for every good work.” I think about this and my relationship with Christ, and I realize that Christ knows me better than I know him. I lament to him unceasingly, but I don’t always run to Scripture. As I have been taking the time to study God and his Word, I find that my trust in the Lord has strengthened, and I see his love more fully. When I find Scripture that speaks to me and I cling to it – whether it’s through memorization and praying it to myself, setting a verse as my phone background, or making it visible in my apartment – I am filled with patience and peace because I know I have the Word of God and his Spirit with me.
I want to challenge you to get to know Jesus better through Scripture. I once witnessed a talk where the speaker reminded us that the Spirit of God speaks to us in the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). In addition to prayer, the sacraments, or Christian community, Scripture is where Christ himself reaches out to us. If we took just five minutes a day to read from a Gospel, that would be over 30 hours of quality time with Jesus in a year. We could read 10 minutes a day, and that would be over 60 hours with Jesus in a year! Even by starting with baby steps, we can build a relationship and truly call Christ our friend. Jesus himself tells a parable of a sower planting seeds, where he explains “the seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). For the seed that fell within rich soil, “it produced fruit a hundredfold” (Luke 8:8) and they “are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance” (Luke 8:15). May your heart be open and receptive to the Word of God so that it may bear much fruit in you and in the world!
In Scripture, Jesus says: “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). Today, I am asking Jesus to let me know him better through his Word as I commit to five minutes of Scripture reading a day. It will require me to be vulnerable and take action, but in doing so, I open myself to the transforming love of Christ that enables us to become better apostles.
If you are not sure where to start, there are many great resources for reading the Church’s daily readings or the Divine Office, which is the Church’s daily prayer comprised of Scripture. When all else fails, just open your Bible and start reading! You can even start by reading the Parable of the Sower in Luke 8:4-15!
I pray that God will give you the grace to know his Son through Scripture. May your reading of Scripture lead to a deepened friendship with Christ, creating fruitful soil that bears much fruit!
For more resources on Prayer and Catechesis, or to read the Daily Mass Readings, please click here.
Alyce Shields is a teacher in Washington D.C.
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