“So Jesus touched his eyes a second time … and then He saw men as Christ saw them”. Mark 8:23-25 (paraphrase)
A letter was once described as “a visit from a friend who was away”. I love to get letters from friends and I will often read them several times. The first time I quickly read it through to find out what has been happening and the second time I try to sense how they are feeling. I wonder if we ever read the Bible like that?
The Bible is often described as a guide book on life or an instruction manual on living. While it is these things the Bible is also a love letter from the Father. While we are reading He wants to visit us with His Presence.
It is important to study the Bible and learn about God’s action and responses. But it is also important to read the Bible a “second time” to sense our Father’s heart. To hear Him say … “since you are precious”, “because I love you”, “I will not forget you”, “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 43:4; 49:15-16).
Sometimes it helps to read the Bible in a different translation to our favourite, perhaps this is where a paraphrase is most helpful, and in this way read it a “second time”.
Reading the Bible should be so much more than an academic exercise. It should be a time of drawing close to God and have Him draw near to us.