still learning

Woodduck31

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I grew up in a Christian family, accepted Jesus and was immersed at 11 years old. I was very active in church functions, always there every time the doors were open. I went to Bible college in Joplin, Mo. and was a youth minister during the summers. I got ordained prior to taking a preaching position in Fairbanks, AK. I didn't last long in Alaska before moving back to Illinois and preached in a little church for a few years at $50 a week. I wasn't much of a speaker and I'm severely dyslexic, making a lot of things tough, but ended up teaching adult bible classes for the next 20 years or so. I never did use any prepared material to teach with, but just went through books of the Bible. Through teaching and Bible college I read a lot of scripture over the years, but only turned to commentaries on rare occasion. I took 14 hours of Greek, which helped decipher some root word meanings, kind of why I never say the word baptism when I quote scripture, but automatically read it as immersion.

I think that all of my reading and memorization of scripture had a lean toward a dissecting verses a few at a time. Over the past two months or so I have been reading the New Testament. I made a point to read it as books and not verses. I would start early in the morning when only the birds and I were awake. In near silence for an hour or so each day, I would ask God to speak to me through his word. I have spent most of my life reading the Bible to either write a sermon or lesson plan. On occasion falling into the trap of proof texting to prove a narrative I already believed in my head.

I finished reading the New Testament two days ago and came to several conclusions. God never intended for us to proof text, to pick and choose what supports our opinion of how things should be. God wants our faith to rest in Him. His Word isn't complicated, the New Testament was written in the language of the common man. Illiteracy was a problem for a large part of our history, but there is no excuse any longer for taking someone else's word for what we think of the Bible.

God really does speak to us, as long as we are listening. Much of the time in the past I was listening for my own rattling in my head. While I was reading through the New Testament this time, I stayed in the flow as if ready a letter or a biography. I didn't do the one verse a week, "Paul, an apostle", what does that mean and spend an hour contemplating. To be honest, it was enlightening and I thought how crazy it is for so many people to drift down rabbit holes that aren't even in the text.

My encouragement to all would be read it for yourself, don't take someone else's word for what you believe. If I, having a serious reading disability can get through it, any one can. I don't really need to argue points of how you approach God, He will speak to you if you let Him. I'm 64 years old and have been in the Bible my entire life and I can still learn more about the Heart of God. Next up, Genesis.
 

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