Reading the Bible Without An Agenda
My little planner heart likes agendas. When I attend meetings, I love getting an agenda. What are we going to talk about? What is on the horizon? And what can we plan for? Those are questions a control-loving person like me loves! I like to know that there is a purpose in something before I commit to doing it.
If I am honest, having an agenda with my quiet time took a wrong turn a few weeks ago. I write and study the Bible on a weekly basis, but that is because I do it connected with my writing. I write Bible reading and study guides.
Lately God has been pulling at my heart to connect more with Him. This means I come to the Bible without an agenda. I still have my notebooks, pens, and methods for studying and reading. I just don’t come with the purpose of using what I’m learning to write about it. I’ve heard pastors mention doing this. They have their Bible and study time, but it is different from their quiet times.
My quiet time with God has less to do with what I can learn and share and more about what can I learn and connect. Connection with God should be one of the major aspects of our Bible reading. I’m all for learning, growing, and spending time in God’s word for edification. Focusing only on knowledge isn’t good though.
Intimacy can be lost when we ignore that this Person we are praying to and reading about in the Bible is a real Person who desires a relationship with us. A real relationship. As I think about my earthly relationships I can see where learning about someone is key to intimacy, but it is not the only thing that will lead to intimacy.
Intimacy comes when we spend unbiased, un-agenda-ed (is that a word?) time with them. Spending time with God in prayer and meditating on His word will knit our hearts to Him in a very special way. I’m not so concerned with knowing the “right” answer. I’m not consumed with learning something new. And I’m ok if I come to a word I don’t know what it means.
I’m starting to do more of just connecting! So far I’ve seen these three benefits of coming to God’s word without an agenda.
3 Benefits for Reading the Bible without an Agenda
1. It allows the Word to speak to my heart without a basis. When I come to God’s word wanting to feel or think a certain way, I miss what He might be really saying. I think I know the mind of God, but the older I get the more I realize He is just as mysterious now as He was when I was 16. God’s Word says what it says. Yes, we can differ on some things, but when I come to God’s word without an agenda it means I’m not trying to bring my preconceived notions on what I think the Bible says to what the Bible is really saying.
2. It lets the Bible speak into my heart in just the way I need. When I come to the Bible wanting to learn or grow, I might miss reading a passage where God needs to point out something in my life I need to change. There have been many times I’ve read a passage of the Bible I didn’t mean to, but God used the very words I “accidentally” read to strengthen and comfort my heart. God’s Word is powerful. I don’t need to take comfort from it. It will come, especially when I come to the Word without an agenda.
3. It can teach me something new. I love learning new things about God and his Word. Years of Bible reading and study means sometimes I think I know it all. So when I open God’s Word asking His Spirit to lead and guide, I realize I don’t know half of what I need or think I know. And when I come with an open heart, ready to listen and learn, God often reveals new truths (or old truths) that I need to remember just for this day.
As I grow in this area, I love listening to Eva’s podcast here. She shares some wonderful tips for how to connect with God. Listen to it here.