Bible+Theology, Spiritual Practices

Growing to Love This Book

Here at Blackhawk Church, we have been in a year-long series titled, “Love this Book.” Since January, we’ve been challenged to read, reflect, and respond to the story of the Bible. Someone recently asked me, “What does it look like to ‘love this book’?” I wasn’t immediately sure how to answer them.

It got me thinking about the things we often say we love–sports teams, food, movies, music… When someone talks about one of these, they often do so with passion, emotion, and (usually fierce) commitment.  We spend time enjoying, listening, and following the things we love. No one has to tell us to deliberately block out time for those things. Instead, we often have to resist spending too much time on those things.

How can that happen for us with God’s word?

In his message “Engaging the Bible”, Ben Knox emphasized that the Bible does not actually tell us to “read” it. Instead, in passages like Psalm 119:9-16 , we’re told to savor it, meditate on it, delight in it and not neglect it. Verse 20 says, “My soul is consumed with longing for your laws [Scripture] at all times.”

Perhaps to fall more in love with God’s word is to grow our expectancy that God will meet us as we spend time with it. In my own life, God uses Scripture to give me direction, hope, encouragement, as well as challenge. I’m drawn to God’s word with more passion and commitment as I’m reminded of how much God wants to use it in my life to ground and center me in who He is and wants me to be–and how deeply He loves me.

Do I struggle to carve out time to spend in God’s word? Absolutely. Often it’s the busyness of my schedule, or the distraction of something weighing on my mind that causes me to neglect time in God’s word. There’s irony here–those are the days when Scripture would help center me on what’s truly important and remind me that God is in control–“He’s got this.”

Over the years, it has helped me to spend a small amount of time in God’s word regularly than a larger amount of time sporadically. It’s the idea of the consistency of nourishment, like the tree in Psalm 1. The psalmist speaks of a person’s “delight” growing for God’s word as one spends time reading and reflecting on it daily. As they do, they’ll be “like a tree planted by streams of water yielding its fruit in season, with leaves that don’t wither…”

The psalmist is using this analogy to help us understand the power of God’s word in our lives to bring life, sustenance, and fruitfulness to us so we can affect those around us. As someone in my life group recently said, “If opening my Bible app is the first thing I do when I wake up, I’m constantly and pleasantly surprised how God’s Word provides wisdom for a situation I’ll face that day.”

People I know who regularly spend time in God’s word—not just to know it but to allow it to touch them deeply, impacting their character and life priorities—often reflect a deep, vibrant love-relationship with God.

About the Author: Craig Gartland
Craig is Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Blackhawk and oversees Adult Ministries. He completed his Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and spent over two decades of his career in campus ministry. He is married to Sharon and they have four children. His passions include cycling, listening to jazz music, photography, and the writings of C.S. Lewis.