Word: Dead or Alive?

Gibberish. Like a foreign language, every word I tried to read made no sense at all! Everyone told me that reading the Bible was good for me, but it was pure drudgery in all honesty. I’d rather have a root canal than to spend five minutes in the Bible.

Call me blind, short-sighted, and hard-hearted all you want. It wasn’t that I was necessarily anti-God, I just didn’t see how reading the Bible impacted my daily life. There were girls to chase, new substances to experiment with, and crazy things about my body that confused me. In my mind, the Bible had nothing to say about stuff like that.

Was I Wrong!  

Why does it take a crisis for God to get your attention?  Back when I was 16, my good friend Kevin was killed in a car/train accident. Sixteen-year-olds aren’t supposed to die. What got my attention was Kevin’s insatiable hunger for God’s Word. At his funeral, they told the story of how Kevin would get up super early to read the Word as a seventh-grader. I knew Kevin was a growing Christian. I admired his faith but could never figure out what made his life work.  Now, I knew.

That funeral in the Flint Hills of Kansas sent me on an unexpected trajectory. Digging under my bed, I found my Bible next to a pair of old shoes and my missing favorite t-shirt! With no clue where to start, I began with Genesis. “In the beginning, God created…” A few pages in, and I was falling asleep. But, I kept returning to the Bible for more. 

What Turned Things Around for Me

Fast forward to my college days. I was involved with a campus ministry called Inter-Varsity. The social life was awesome! I never had so many friends who were pro-Jesus! I also learned some essential Bible study skills that gave me practical tools to understand what I was reading. 

Essential Tools 

Observation.  Simply note what is going on in the passage. Who wrote it, what was the context and who was the audience?

Interpretation. In other words, what was at the heart of the message being conveyed?

Application. Knowing what I now know about the Bible passage, what difference can it make in my life?

Motivation Changed Everything!

Your words were found, and I ate them,

    and your words became to me a joy

    and the delight of my heart,

for I am called by your name,

    O Lord, God of hosts.

Jeremiah 15:16 ESV

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 ESV


What turned things around for me what this thought. God’s Word is living and active. It is supernatural. That means it’s the only book on the planet, in the entire universe, that has the 100% endorsement of God himself. When I read the Word, I have the opportunity to encounter the God of the Universe!  He has something to say to me. In fact, of the 25,000-30,000 words I’ll hear in one day, what God has to say to me is by far the best and most important. 

Why would I want to miss that?

“God, speak to me. My soul is desperate for hope. For knowing you, not just in my head, but in my experience; hand and heart.

Now, when I read the Bible, it comes alive! I see Him speaking to nooks and crannies of my heart. Clarity. Life and Hope! 

The Bible didn’t change, I did. 

Is the Bible boring to you? Ask God to show Himself to you as you read it. By faith, know God is alive, and by using those essential tools and a bit of focused time in the Word, God can speak to you.  Why would you want to miss that?

Warrior On! 

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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