from the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of Reflections magazine
by the Rev. Jay George
Think of the most important relationship in your life – whether that’s a marriage relationship, or a best friend relationship, or a parent-child relationship. Whatever that most important relationship is, that’s what we should think about when we think about reading the Bible.
Scripture is the primary means by which you and I know God. There is nothing else like it; nothing can replace it; and nothing is more important. It’s how we build relationship with God.
In the Bible we share a story with God. Stories have a way of becoming part of our relationships. When I met my wife in college, I was immediately attracted to her, but I didn’t yet know her. On our second date we stayed up all night talking in the lobby of her dorm — in those days boys weren’t allowed upstairs after 10 pm. We sat in the lobby of the dorm, and we walked around outside and just talked. We got to know each other. That’s part of our story, our history.
On our third date we went to see a play. Now she had and still has long blonde hair, and I was being a gentleman, so I opened the car door for her. But when I shut the door, unbeknownst to me, I caught her hair in it. All the way to the play, I couldn’t figure out why she was sitting huddled up next to the car door. When we got to the play she quickly opened the door and jumped out. And I thought, “Oh, she’s an independent woman, I like that.” And that’s part of our story, too. It’s part of our history. It’s part of our relationship.
That’s what Scripture gives us – a common story, a common history.
You cannot love one whom you do not know. To know and be known, that is the essence of relationship. And the way that you know God clearest and most consistently is in scripture. That is where God reveals God’s self to us most often and most clearly.
If you want to know God, read the Bible. If you want to know what God looks like, read the Gospels and look at Jesus because Jesus is the fullest revelation of the Father.
If you want to grow in your relationship with God, then read your Bible. And as you read God’s story, as God reveals himself to you, you will find your place in God’s story. And you and God will develop this shared history and this life together, this relationship. And you will begin to know what it means to abide in Christ.
And as you come to love God more and more, you will discover just how much God loves you – that God loves you and values you beyond all measure. That’s where we discover the joy that Jesus talks about in the 15th chapter of John’s Gospel when he says, “I want you to abide in me so my joy may be in you and your joy may be full.”
Every word that goes forth from the mouth of God will carry out the purpose for which God sent it. This is God’s promise through his prophet Isaiah.
The Bible isn’t magic. It’s not some talisman that we can wrap our arms around or memorize and then we have this holy protection. It is the way by which we come to know God. We cannot love one whom we do not know. The best way to know God is to read your Bible.
The Rev. Jay George is rector of Grace Church, San Antonio. Reach him at