There is nothing more exciting than watching children open up as they learn to read – sounding out the letters to recognise a word: ‘m-at mat’, ‘d-og dog’ and so on. The opportunities are endless once you can read; and so many doors are closed if you can’t.
Reading scripture is about much more than simply being able to turn the squiggles into sounds. It’s about interpreting, taking to heart, understanding, and allowing what we have read to transform our lives. We may be able to read the words of scripture easily enough – but understanding them, and putting them into practice, is a lifetime’s work.
Text and Questions: Acts 8. 26–40 tells of Philip’s journey down the ‘wilderness road’ (subtext – this could be dangerous) where he finds an Ethiopian eunuch, who has just been to worship in Jerusalem, reading Isaiah. The eunuch may be particularly excited by this book because of the promises to foreigners and eunuchs in Isaiah 56:3-8.
What does Philip ask him (v 30) and what does the eunuch reply? (v31)
How do you read the Bible? How often, when, which versions, which parts of it . . ? Who helps you to understand it?
Challenge: identify one book of the Bible that you don’t know very well. Make a plan for when you will read it and buy a simple commentary to help you.
Prayer: Each day this week, read a verse from Isaiah 53:1-7 slowly. Read it over slowly several times and let the words sink in. Don’t try to work out what they mean. Listen ‘with the ears of your heart’. Is there a word or phrase which stands out? Let this lead you into prayer.