One of the greatest joys of my life is two-fold: 1) studying and teaching the Bible and 2) teaching women to study the Bible for themselves.
Why? Because I have tasted and seen—though it be through a mirror dimly—the sweetest of joys, the richest of loves, and a depth of security and hope the world cannot offer. I drank (and sometimes—with hellish results—still drink) from broken cisterns and empty wells. They not only disappointed but left me more thirsty. But I know of a true and better well and I want everyone to taste and see.
The Bible is a gateway to joy, which is Christ Himself. And I love it so.
The following excerpt is from Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture (linked to a free PDF version) by John Piper and it is so helpful to consider as we approach Scripture.
Read it for yourself and then go dig.
John Piper writes:
The ordinary aim of reading that I am commending is that we read to discover what the author intended to communicate. Which implies that meaning is outside of us. It is discovery, not creation. We do not bring it to the Bible. It is already there because the authors, with God’s guidance, put their words together so as to communicate what they intended. When we read the Bible, its meaning is not the ideas that come into our head that may be “meaningful” to us. Those ideas may or may not be part of what the author meant. Rather, when we read the Bible we are digging for the gold of what inspired writers wanted to communicate. We are not creating meaning. We are seeking it.
If you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
What would we think of a person who started mining for gold and one day brought some of his own nicely carved stones with him into the mine, then took them out of his pocket, and came running to us crying, “Look what I found in the mine! Look. I found these in the mine! They must be really valuable!” We would say he is a fool.
The Bible’s meaning is not something already in our head. It is what was in the author’s head and is now imbedded, by the wonder of language, in the words and their structure on the page. The ordinary aim of reading is to dig it out. It is a glorious work. The rewards are inestimable.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
For further reading on this topic, check out this article: More Than Just Raking by David Mathis