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Angela’s story

It wasn’t planned, but the vague frustration rose to the surface and just kind of bubbled out when Angela met with Sarah over a cup of Coyote Coffee. “I keep hearing that I’ve got a relationship with God, but honestly it seems a bit one-sided.  I mean, you and I have developed a friendship.  We’ve gotten to know each other through conversation.  I text—you text back.  We talk!”      

Angela took a quick slurp and continued before Sarah could jump in:  “I already know what you’re going to say—and I do--I try to pray.  But can you imagine if I did all the talking here and you just sat and stared at me?  What kind of relationship would that be?”

Sarah began cautiously, wanting to encourage her friend, but not imply that she had it all figured out, or foster the wrong expectations.  “I’m glad you consider me a friend, and I think you’re absolutely right that sharing ideas is at the heart of it.  Do you remember the time you were determined to go all pioneer woman and live off grid?  You still owe me for talking you down off that ledge!  But even the crazy stuff we share has drawn us together.”

“Uh huh . . . so what do you think about our friendship with God?”

“Well, have you ever considered that maybe God is talking, and that we can learn better how to tune-in to his voice?  I’m probably already off base.  Maybe not ‘talking’ per say, but interacting in a way that is the back-and-forth communication we long for?”

There was a bit of silence before Angela broke it:  “Okaaay--that’s a start.  But I certainly hope there’s more.”

“It’s just that I hear what you’re saying.  I know that longing myself.  And I don’t want to imply that the answer is easy.  But isn’t that kinda what the Bible is all about--you know—God’s Word?  ‘Talking you off a ledge’—hasn’t Scripture done that for you?  ‘Picked you up off the floor’, ‘given you the scoop’:  all those things?” 

The story of us all:

God poured his heart out into the Bible.  He wrote it for certain people.  He wrote it for all people.  And he wrote it to you.  The 66-volume book we know as the Bible claims to be the living, breathing words of God with complete authority over our lives. 

One important Scripture:Hebrews 4:12 (ESV) 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 

Now, what’s your story? 

You’ve heard Angela’s story, you know the story of us all.  Now, let’s talk!  

  • Can you relate to Angela?
  • Do you have any strong memories that relate to your experience with the Bible?
  • When you read the Bible, is it like you’re in conversation with God?
  • Do you have a favorite book, chapter or verse?
  • Do you trust the Bible to be true?
  • Have you found God’s Word to be useful?
  • Do you have ideas about how God’s word in the Bible can be personal for you?
  • Have you ever had instruction on how to read, study, and interpret the Bible? 

Ask someone: 

When you read the Bible, is it like you’re in conversation with God?


Mike 5 months ago

In the church I grew up in, I experienced the Bible as a textbook from which we could dig out secrets to a successful life. In seminary, I think I related to the Bible as an ancient artifact as we learned to examine it in Hebrew and Greek. It was decades into my Christian life before I began to "hear" it as the personal voice of God.

William Lane 5 months ago

I was raised as an atheist. I liked to read and tried several times to read the Bible. But every time I tried, it was like staring at a brick wall. I understood the words, but I got no message.
After I became a Christian later in life, I strongly wanted to know what God was saying that applied to me. As I read through the Bible, if I didn’t feel I was getting an understanding of what God was saying, then I would reread the passage. Sometimes again and again.
By now, I have been privileged to teach the Bible to adults on and off for many years. Each lesson, I would pray for wisdom to know what God wanted to be taught. Sometimes the answer was obvious, but most times I had to “wrestle” with God to pull out the message. Was God talking to me verbally - No. Was God directly telling me a message - Yes.
What I think God wants from me is three fold, 1) I need to sincerely ask Him for guidance, 2) I need to listen carefully to Him (by reading Scripture) over and over until I understand what He is saying, and most importantly 3) I need to do what He tells me.
God knows more about how I should live than I do. So He seems to talk loudest when He knows I am willing to obey.

Rachel Miller 5 months ago

First of all…I’m excited about this.

I totally get Angela’s frustration. I would read the Bible expecting warm fuzzies when the words related to me and would get frustrated/discouraged when that didn’t happen. Especially in the Old Testament. But two years ago I finally heard someone say that the Bible is not about me. They encouraged me to look for God and His character when I read or listen. This has helped me so much. I see Gods patients and faithfulness all over the place as he interacts with the Israelites. Now if I could just stop getting distracted as I read…Maybe if I did a better job implementing Bill’s 3 points above I’d start to do better with that as well.

Bryan Galloway 5 months ago

My story: Before I was born-again, I read the Bible to earn favor with God. After I was saved , I realized that God's Word must be a central part of my life. I was taught early in high school youth group to read and study it on a regular basis. I was also taught to memorize scripture and to meditate upon it. For the past 47+ years, I have tried to incorporate into my life the reading of , study of, memorizing of, and meditating on God's Word. Some days were better than others in doing so. Those practices must be purposeful. In other words, why am I reading the Bible today? To know and love God more and to discern what He is saying to me in the Word. I still have a long way to go.

Ginny Harriger 5 months ago

Reading the Bible can be confusing. I have found if helpful to read a difficult passage in multiple translations. If it's really difficult I even read it from a children's translation. For me, what helps the most is discussion with other believers. That's why I find group Bible studies so helpful. Even if I am facilitating the study I still learn so much from the others in the group. To answer you last question: no, I have not had formal instruction on how to study the Bible but I have found this can be "caught rather than taught" from others in a Bible study group and from listening to teaching from the pastors.

Jessica Aschoff 5 months ago

I’m honestly quite intimidated by the Bible. I usually find myself confused or wishing for more information when I read it. I find myself believing I’m not smart enough to get anything out of it, but I know deep down that’s a lie. I’m thankful for resources like The Bible Project that help me connect the dots and visualize stories, and for pastors and a church family that get me seeing passages in new ways every week. I’ve tried to read the “Bible in a year” many times so I’m quite familiar with Genesis and Matthew… I’m trying to be more realistic and take it slower. I do want to know with certainty that I’ve read every single passage which is why a “Bible in a year” program is attractive to me. I have learned to see the Bible as a way for God to communicate with me, which can sometimes add to the intimidation factor. I still struggle with a lot of fear, in general but especially surrounding my relationship with God, so I feel anxious when I think about Him speaking to me and me not being able to react in a way I’d be proud of. Trying to remember His character… “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.” Isaiah 30:18

Barry Hanson 5 months ago

I have been meeting with the Lord at the kitchen table first thing in the morning for several decades. Over the past couple years, in this world of confusion and misinformation and outrage, it is so comforting and encouraging to start each day knowing every word I am reading is pure, unadulterated, rock solid, life giving truth from God about God, his people and me - that I can rely on utterly.

Paul Bengtson 5 months ago

I do not expect a one-on-one conversation with God as we normally understand a one. Years ago, I did have a response to a cry for help prayer of "what can I do Lord". That was answered immediately in a voice that was loud and clear, "Read the Word, Study the Word". I know that came from God. Not only that but the results were very favorable.
When reading the Bible, I feel peace. My favorite verse is Galations 5:16 NLT. "Go I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves." I do know the Holy Spirit speaks to me and nudges me through my conscience. Every time that nudge comes, I feel thanks and peace.
I read other books that I find inspirational. 7 Lessons from Heaven by Mary C. Neal, M.D., the three books by Cara Whitney, Devotions from the Mountain, Devotions from the Beach, Pawverbs for a Dog Lovers Heart by Jennifer Bleakley to name a few. The most helpful has been one my wife gave me, "3-minute Devotions for Men" which I read first thing every morning followed up by the Bible and prayer. My prayers are more like a one-sided conversation with God which I enjoy and feel at peace with.

Paula Fryer 4 months ago

I'm late beginning this journey, but I'll try to catch up. The thing that struck me most about this blog was the question about really having a conversation with God. The last several years have been a challenge for me. The world was going absolutely crazy, my mother's health was in serious decline and my world was turned upside down. The thing that got me through it was my morning time of devotions and seeking God. They helped keep my foundation firm so I could tell up from down. Sometimes devotions spoke directly to what I was coping with that very day, that made me feel like God did hear me, see me, but it didn't always feel like it. Wish I could say I just sailed through it, but I didn't. I did get through it. Because of my lifetime walk with God, I never questioned it God was real. I knew God would work something good out of all of it, but sometimes it felt like I would never get through those days. I am on the other side of the worst of it now and still seeking God daily and trying to determine the path God wants me to take next.

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