Seeing Christ in All of Scripture: Three Resources to increase intimacy with God through Bible Reading and Prayer
I’ve always known that as a Christian, it is important to spend quality time with God through bible reading and prayer. I have not always understood the best way to go about it. At times, especially early on, it has been a struggle to be faithful. Perhaps most helpful in cultivating consistency and experiencing life-changing intimacy with God has been one important discovery: the goal of Bible reading is, first and foremost, to see Jesus Christ. That is, not only to see Him in obvious New Testament passages but to recognize Him in all of scripture. As we behold Him, we behold His glory and as we fix our eyes upon His glory, we are changed.
This simple practice is not the result of human effort alone but the work of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit opens our spiritual eyes and warms our hearts with the beauty of Christ and His glory.
There are two primary biblical texts that describe this sanctifying dynamic:
2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into
the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 4:6 (ESV)
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts
to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
There it is – the Holy Spirit works in our hearts to give us light and to give us knowledge. That knowledge is “the glory of God in the face of Christ.” As we behold Christ, we are transformed into what we see from “one degree of glory to another.”
As promised in a recent message, here are three resources that will help you “look to Jesus” (Heb.12:2) as you read your Bible.
The Gospel Transformation Bible: The Gospel Transformation Bible is a wonderful tool, utilizing commentary and study notes, that will help you trace the theme of the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the entire Bible.
The Gospel Transformation Bible: http://goo.gl/XaFFfL
Look and Live, by Matt Papa: Look and Live is an accessible book that helps you “behold the soul-thrilling, sin-destroying glory of Christ.” This is the easiest of the books I’m recommending, though not shallow. Matt Papa is a worship leader and has done an excellent work calling us to see Jesus in all of life. His main focus is not so much on scripture reading but on how seeing Jesus brings transformation.
Look and Live: https://goo.gl/jdk1S0
Newton on the Christian Life; To Live is Christ, by Tony Reinke: Third, and by far the most helpful material I have read on the subject, is Newton on the Christian Life; To Live is Christ, by Tony Reinke.
Reinke unfolds the Christology of John Newton, famed pastor and author of Amazing Grace. Newton’s pastoral gift surpasses most, and his overarching call to trust in the all-sufficiency of Christ is unparalleled. I highly recommend this work with one disclaimer. I have had the opportunity to read a good bit of biographical material on Newton and many of his letters, songs and sermons. I’m not sure others will get the same impact if you’ve not been previously exposed to Newton’s work. Regardless, I recommend all things Newton. You can easily get started with John Piper’s brief biography (The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce), or even better, Jonathan Aitken’s more substantive treatment, John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace.
Newton on the Christian Life; To Live is Christ: http://goo.gl/6kGzSt
As a follower of Christ, God has invited you into a life-giving, fulfilling relationship with Him. He waits to meet you in the pages of Scripture. His Holy Spirit will be your guide. He promises to transform you from the inside out. His call is simple: come and know Me, keeping this one aim constantly before you – to see Jesus Christ in all of Scripture.