2 Timothy 3:16
Okay, well, as you may or may not have known, or remembered, or cared, I spent the month of December doing something I called Operation All Of It. Every time I came across a Bible verse, in an email, on my calendar, etc., I would not be satisfied reading just the verse. I would get my Bible and read the whole chapter of that verse.
So I wanted to report back some of my "findings".
First of all, I read a whole lot more of the Bible than I would have. Of course, to be honest, I didn't read "all of it" every time I came in contact with a verse. Sometimes I wanted to finish what I was doing, so I'd put off til later. Then some of those times I forgot. But overall, I was definitely in the Bible, and in more of the Bible than I would have been. And I found that every verse is better ~ richer and more complete ~ with the verses that come before and after it.
But I also noticed that I learned something new almost every time I read the verse in context. For instance, I was given Jeremiah 32:15 ~ "For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: 'Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.'" Great verse, right? Full of promise. But what I discovered is that chapter 32 is largely depressing. There's that verse that's uplifting, but most of the uplifting verses are at the end. I had to persevere through the dismal part to get to the encouraging part.
Conversely, a verse that had "negative" words led to a chapter of lightness and beauty. Romans 5:9 says "Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." "Blood" and "wrath" are not really nice words, in and of themselves. But look at the other words in chapter 5: justified, faith, peace, grace, rejoice, hope, glory, love, Holy Spirit, given, strength, righteous, saved, reconciled, gift, abound, abundance... Aren't those beautiful words? I was so glad, that day, that I'd gone the distance.
Some verses made me curious, and I was glad to look to find the answer. Like Revelation 3:20 ~ "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come to him and dine with him, and he with Me." I know that the early chapters of Revelation are written to different churches: Sardis, Philadelphia... and as I read that quote, that I've read a hundred times, I found myself wondering which church that was written to. Reading the whole chapter gave me that answer: the church of the Laodiceans.
Some verses didn't make sense until I read the whole chapter. Other times I thought the verse was in one context but realized with reading that it was something else.
And here's a sideline lesson. About a week before Christmas, my daughter went to visit a friend while my son and the Apple of my Eye went Christmas shopping. So I had the whole house to myself. I was doing some cleaning and baking and decided to have some Christmas music while I did so. But instead of just turning to my playlist of Christmas favorites, I decided to satisfy a hankering I'd been having for quite some time:
George Frederic Handel's Messiah.
|photo credit: Getty images|
Now, of course your mind goes to the Hallelujah Chorus, that beautiful but brief portion that cause our bodies to stand and our hearts to rise when we hear it. But I'd been hankerin' for ~ you guessed it: All Of It. So I found a version on YouTube, which happened to be performed by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge. And I listed to all two hours and thirty-eight minutes of it.
And just as with the Bible, I came to the conclusion that if a little is good, more is better. Though some parts may be more fulfilling, or more rewarding to you, the peace and joy and majesty shine even more gloriously when you experience it in its entirety.
~ "receive the word with all readiness
and search the Scriptures daily" ~