For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
Romans 15:4
One of the things that is so amazing about the Bible is that it speaks to us in ways that are the same to all of us, but also unique to each of us. I can look at a verse that seems obscure to me that can be a go-to verse for you. So, in finding go-to verses, each of us will find them in different ways. Beginning Monday, I’m going to share a number of go-to verses that have brought meaning to my life. However, before beginning that, allow me some other introductory thoughts on go-to verses.
First, how do we find go-to verses? The answer is simple, start reading the Bible. Since many of us don’t know the layout of the Bible, allow me to give a little bit of background. The Bible is divided into two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament begins with the creation of the world, the fall of mankind, and the flood at the time of Noah. It continues with God’s covenant to Abraham, then talks about Isaac, Jacob and his 12 sons. We read about how the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt, the ten plagues and their escape, the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai and forty years of travel through the desert to the promised land. There is a period of judges, a period of kings and a period of prophets. During all of these times, God does not abandon His people.
The New Testament begins with the Incarnation of Jesus Christ in the flesh. The Gospels tell of His earthly ministry, His crucifixion and Resurrection and Ascension into heaven. The Book of Acts talks about the establishment of the early Church. The Epistles are letters to the early churches, most of them written by St. Paul. There are Epistles also written by St. James, St. Peter, St. John and St. Jude. Finally, the last book is the Revelation, a vision of St. John.
You don’t need to read the Bible cover to cover. You don’t have to read entire books or even entire chapters. You can open to a random book or even a random page. Let the words of Scripture speak to you. Read a passage and “sit” with it. Meditate on it. Ask God through prayer for a better sense of comprehension of what you are reading.
When you find verses that speak with you, write them down. Maybe put down the emotion that they evoke in you. Write each verse on a note card. Put the cards where you can see them—on a bulletin board, near the door you used to leave your house, on your desk, in your office, in your car, even carry one in your pocket.
Look at a go-to verse (or verses) before you leave in the morning. Have one to look at in the office before a meeting or an important conversation. Keep one for travelling in the car. Put one by your bed that inspires you when you wake up or settles you down when you go to sleep.
As we go through this unit, please feel free to send me your go-to verses, and I’d be happy to share them, as well as write a reflection on them.
After the weekend (and our usual Epistle/Gospel series), come back Monday and you’ll read a different “go-to” verse each day, with some inspiration, and a match to which emotion it touches.
Lord, our God, thank You for the gift of Scripture. Help me to find things in Scripture that will speak to my heart and to my life. Help me to find not only understanding but comfort and direction in what I read. Thank You for being the One I go-to not only in times of sorrow but in times of joy as well. Amen.
Buy some notecards and start collecting go-to verses on your own, or use some of mine. Either way, let’s get ready to GO!