Reading my bible and reading a novel are two very different exercises. Reading my bible and reading some other work of non-fiction are less different, but still quite significantly different. After all, no other book can have the profound impact on my life that the bible does. No other book will bear hundreds of rereadings without growing old. The bible seems to have more impact, not less, as time goes on.
Sometimes, though, I think I miss things because I approach the bible with the attitude I do. Eventually God breaks through my preconceptions and it's like a sudden burst of light. In the last few days, in my reading of Isaiah, one of those bursts of light occurred.
The bible is beautifully written.
That's something I've been on the verge of noticing before, but I've steered myself away from. My bible study time isn't when I should be thinking about prose, I told myself. Besides, if the prose is well written, it's probably due to the translators. I should concentrate on the content, not on the style.
Finally it clicked. I don't like the word for word style of the bible particularly, so I can't credit the translators. And if the Isaiah is written in a semi-poetic style, as the line breaks suggest, it was probably written that way purposely. In which case it probably wouldn't hurt to pay some attention to it.
In doing that, something becomes evident: the writing reflects the nature of its original author. I've never been great at seeing God's beauty and majesty in the sunset, but seeing God's beauty and majesty in the writing of the bible, I can do. It reminds me all over again of just how wonderful and amazing He is.
The ways God shows himself to us are, I think more than we can ever imagine. "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." (1 Corinthians 2:9) That's pretty awesome.