2 Kings 22 and 23, 2 Timothy 3:16

Jim Lowe shares his inspiration for reading all of the Bible.

Jim Lowe
Jim Lowe

I don't know if you've had that experience of nearly missing something great?

Recently on a family holiday to Portugal, I made two great discoveries that I nearly missed. We were staying in an overgrown village by the coast in a hotel, which was surrounded by modern high rise holiday apartments. We followed the map that the hotel gave us to the 'centre' of the village. It was all very nice: modern, great views over the sea and a few of the normal tourist shops selling the same stuff you find all over Europe, just with Portugal or Algarve written on it.

The beach looked so amazing that one morning I thought I'd go for a run following the coastal road. The start of the run was hard; it was a steep hill to climb. After a mile, I came across a hidden little beach cove. It was stunning and secluded, one of the most beautiful beaches I had been on. I stopped running for about 10 minutes and just enjoyed this amazing 'hidden' piece of creation. The other beaches had been great, but this bit was even better.

Then I ran another couple of miles down the road and found this amazing 'old' piece of Portugal. It was a few streets where all the locals were hanging out. The streets with their old buildings were beautiful, and it also had some great shops that weren't full of tourist tat. Instead there were incredible artists and crafts people making and selling unique things. I marvelled at the history and creativity that I could see.

As a family we nearly missed out on these little gems; all it took was for me to stretch myself by getting up early and exercising. If I had lain in bed a little longer, I would have missed these gems. We would still have been happy with our modern, tourist version of Portugal, but we would not have discovered all the country had to offer.

As I was running back to my hotel, I had a thought. This mirrors our relationship with the Bible. Often as Christians we can have our favourite bits of the Bible, the verses that we go to, that we share on social media. Often we can read the passages that others recommend, which are normally good places to start. But as you grow in your knowledge and understanding of God, it's good to stretch yourself to read the bits that are harder to understand.

When I was 19 I was challenged by a preacher to read through the entire Bible. I knew lots of stories in the Bible, but I hadn't worked out how it all fitted together. As I embarked on reading it through in a year, I fell in love with it. I found so much hidden treasure, as well as encouragement and personal challenges. At times it wasn't easy; at times I was confused about what it said. But I found that I grew in my love and appreciation of God, my understanding of who He is and what His plans are.

One of my favourite stories in the Bible is found in 2 Kings 22 and 23 where King Josiah and the people of Judah discovered one of the early books of the Old Testament. They were so challenged about the things that were written that it brought them back to God. It changed their life and they celebrated His word.

The Bible can still have that effect on us today. Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:16:

'All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.'

Every bit of the Bible is there for a reason and it is important that we read it all to help us know more about God's plans.

So can I encourage you to pick up your Bible and read a little more? You never know what's so close, but you're missing out on. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.