How Do You Begin to Engage the Bible? The Joy of Making a New Commitment March 29th, 2016 Randy Petersen
How Do You Begin to Engage the Bible?
How Do You Begin to Engage the Bible? The Joy of Making a New Commitment March 29th, 2016 Randy Petersen
Bible Engager’s Blog

"We're engaged!"

My friend waved her left hand, now adorned with a small diamond. Congratulations were offered. There was some shrieking and jumping. And I began to think about the word engagement.

We all know what it means. My friend has promised to marry her boyfriend. The English word comes from a French word for a pledge. To be engaged is to be "in a promise." The knot has not yet been tied, but there is an agreement to move in that direction, a commitment that leads to commitment.

Paying attention

These days, most of my writing has to do with "Scripture engagement." That led me to ask: What does it mean for people to engage with the Bible?

Well, the meaning of the English word engage has expanded to describe attentive involvement. Gears engage. So do students. Engagement is not a one-time connection. The gear enters into a partnership, you might say, with another gear. They are working together. A student engages with a subject, returning to it day after day, learning more, exploring various angles.

That's what we mean when we're talking about the Bible. You can have a Bible on your shelf for years without opening it (check out the fifth annual state of the Bible). You can read an occasional Bible verse without paying much attention to it. But to fully engage with Scripture is to enter into a partnership with it, to keep coming back to it, to mesh your gears with its gears to create movement.

Day and night

The Bible itself describes this sort of relationship. It blesses the one who meditates on Scripture day and night (Psalm 1:2; Joshua 1:8). It tells us to be doers of the Word and not just hearers (James 1:22). We're invited to make God's instructions an integral part of our homes, involved in our lives 24/7. "Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working" (Deuteronomy 11:19). When we engage with God's Word in this way, it illuminates our path, nourishes more than bread and tastes sweeter than honey (Psalm 119:105; Matthew 4:4; Psalm 19:10).

To engage with the Bible is to live in a promise. Like my newly pledged friend, we are committed to a process of exploration that will lead to greater commitment.

Try these resources to make a new commitment to Bible reading

Read more posts about: Reading the Bible

Randy Petersen
Randy Petersen

Writer of more than sixty books and hundreds of church curriculum lessons, Randy Petersen has served churches as a Bible teacher, small-groups coordinator, drama director, preaching consultant and softball pitcher.

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