Yearbook Theology // by Bethany Thomas

By August 16, 2018All Posts

Quiet chirping,
Leaves sighing,
Tick of morning hours.
Coffee steaming,
Creamer swirling,
Psalms open on lap.

It’s five a.m., I’m sitting in my library/laundry room perusing the book of Psalms. Like most people, I unconsciously read the Bible to find something that speaks to me. This is also known as yearbook theology: reading the Bible with yourself in mind, instead of God.

 

I’m guilty of this. While reading the NIV printing of Psalm 119, I came across my name, Beth. Immediately, I was hooked. Who wouldn’t be? It felt like God was saying “look here!”

 

I read thinking that surely this stanza would inspire and somehow connect to the theme of vulnerability.

 

How can a young person stay on the path

Of purity?

By living according to your word.

Psalm 119:9

 

Hmm, not very vulnerable sounding.

 

I seek you with all my heart;

Do not let me stray from your commands.

Psalm 119:10

 

I seek Him, right?

 

I have hidden your word in my heart

That I might not sin against you.

Psalm 119:11

 

I know John 3:16 and Psalms 23. I can summarize the major stories of the Bible: Esther, David & Goliath, Ruth, Jonah, Abraham, Joseph…

 

Praise be to you, Lord;

Teach me your decrees.

With my lips I recount

All the laws that come from your

mouth.

Psalm 119:12-13

 

Wait. David’s point is to praise God by reading the Bible. At this point I realized that I needed to change my way of thinking. I first need to ask myself:

What do I learn about God?

  • God wants us to succeed.

He created a guide book for us. The Bible. His spirit moved through the pens that wrote His words down, from Moses all the way through Apostles.

 

  • He needs our hearts to be open.

To speak to us, He needs our hearts and minds wiped clean of preconceived notions. When looking at the Bible, we need to soak in the wisdom of those that came before us.

What do I learn about mankind?

  • Being a Christian is difficult.

David asked how a young person can be pure; haven’t we all asked that at one point? How can I be pure in this world? Where is the line? How far can I go before I’m in the wrong?

That is the very reason God gave us His Book.

 

  • We stumble.

I mess up all the time, especially while driving. I can’t stand it when someone rides my bumper and flashes their lights at me. It makes me want to slow down and block them. But then I remember that we are called to love the people that “drive” us crazy. (Luckily, I don’t have a church window sticker on my car yet.)

 

 

Are there any sins to repent of?

  • Lord, I have not been diligent in reading the Bible to memorize your words.

This may not seem like a sin, but if you say you don’t have time to read the Bible, yet you do have the time to watch half a season of The Office on Netflix in a day (guilty), that is a sin. I for one have been putting Netflix and Hulu over quality study time with the Bible.

 

Any lessons or values to apply in my life?

  • Even David needed God’s help.

This psalm is both a lesson for us and a prayer to God. The first half is David asking how to stay pure and how to keep the word of God in his heart. The second half is praise to the Lord for being God and a call for help in keeping His commandments.

 

Ladies, I encourage you to be vulnerable in this moment and ask yourself, “Am I reading the Bible for me, or for what I can learn about God?” It’s okay to search for yourself in the Bible, but try to go deeper and instead search for God. Every book, chapter, and verse points to Him.

I myself am going to take to heart something David wrote:

I delight in your decrees;

I will not neglect your word.

Psalms 119:16

 

Featured photo by: Allison Mims

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