As we go through our weeks, going back and forth from church and Bible study, we get snippets of Scripture which give us glimpses of God. The question is: what do we do with those snippets? Do we stitch them together into a sort of patchwork image? Do we leave church and never think about them again? Perhaps we should ask a different question and consider what Scripture is instead of what we do with it. Scripture is the Word of God, delivered to us to the end that we come to know God. If we step back and look at the Bible as a whole, we see the story of God’s relationship with humanity; a story in which God reveals Himself.
The Bible chronicles the revelation of God to humanity as well as His redemptive work. God reveals Himself to Abraham in the land of Ur, to Moses through the burning bush, through David’s prayers of joy and anguish, through the struggles of prophets like Elisha, all ultimately leading to Jesus Christ: the revelation of God in flesh, the incarnate Word of God; in whom “dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”. The revelation does not end there as God sends His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, Who continues to work and speak through the letters which make up the rest of the New Testament. The Spirit continues His work beyond what is recorded in the pages of the Bible. We are as much a part of the story of God as Elijah or Peter.
However, we cannot fully participate if we only know bits and pieces of the story. We cannot know God if we do not listen to Him and pay attention to what He’s already told us about Himself.
Consider a machine as an analogy when we examine a particular selection of Scripture: it is as if we have removed a part from the machine in order to examine it more closely. While we understand the particular part better, we will not be able understand it as much as if we know how it fits into and functions in the machine. We must be careful not to read only certain parts of certain sections of the Bible. If we do that, we will be similar the blind men as they examine an elephant; with a limited and inaccurate picture of God as He has revealed Himself to us. Without the bigger picture to fit the smaller glimpses into, we run the risk of customizing God to fit into our lives. On the contrary, God is calling us to become part of His story. We begin to step into that story by reading it instead of carving and dissecting it. That is why it is important that we read the Bible from cover to cover: so that we can participate in God’s story of revelation and redemption instead of merely watching the highlights.