For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:12-14
These verses first stood out to me when I was involved in the House of Prayer. I had the opportunity to receive training from various teachers who had spent unbelievable amounts of time in the Word. And, these verses were a huge part of why I started writing for 66Books.
I was in my first year of motherhood, exhausted as most mothers are. I was new to the struggle of balancing life duties with my desire to spend huge amounts of time in the prayer closet. My daughter didn’t understand (and still doesn’t) that I needed to have time alone, time with God. And, though I incorporated God as best that I could into my day-to-day life, I was feeling dry and empty.
One day in desperation, at the end of my rope, completely burned out, I prayed and asked God to show me what to do, to show me a solution. I wanted something that would help me get back into the Word the way I had been in years past. I wanted someone to help hold me accountable to setting time aside to delve deeper than my simple (yet effective) “Help me Holy Ghost” prayers.
Less than a week later, I got a random email from a woman who I didn’t know, but who has become one of my dearest friends, asking me if I would consider contributing to the 66Books blog. The moment I read the email, I knew that it was a direct answer to prayer, and I stepped into this amazing journey of exploration into the world of ‘solid food’.
I’ve probably read the whole Bible 15-20 times throughout my life. I was raised in a Christian home, went to Christian school for my early and middle education, attended church and youth group as a teen, and then when I really started following Christ, I went to ministry school and began getting involved in missions. Much of those readings could have been considered ‘milk’; just surface readings to get the work done, to memorize the Bible verse so I’d pass a test, or racing with friends to see who could get the most read the fastest.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with reading the Word as straight forward ‘logos’, just the reading the words as they are written, as a story and as a biographical work. Sometimes I need it to be easy (especially when reading the Mosaic law in the Old Testament); I just need to drink it in, like a baby drinks milk to be sustained.
But something has changed in me, and even as I am reading, I am ever looking out for that ‘rhema’ Word, a word or a phrase or a group of verses that resonates, that seems like it was spoken just for me in that moment. When it pops out, highlighted on the page, I know that is where God is leading me to dig and explore; and there is where I start to chew on the solid food, the meat of the Word.
What I have begun to learn on this journey of gnawing on solid food, is that there is so much more for me, so much hidden in the Word that is specific and relevant to my life, to my struggles, to my personal walk. There are nuggets of wisdom buried like treasure in everything that has been written, in the choice of words (even those words that may not have been translated in the best way), just like the parables were bites of concealed knowledge understood by those who pressed in and were enlightened.
I have learned that when I read the Bible at face value, I am nourished; but when I chew on the meat of the Word, I feast. My mind and my heart are opened in new ways to God’s grace, God’s mercy, and God’s love; and, I am overflowing with His goodness and filled by His faithfulness.
Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.