Sometimes when I underline something I also unintentionally cross words out. Those pretty, hand-lettered bullet journals and Bibles on Instagram and Pinterest? They intimidate me to the point that when my new copy of the Catholic Journaling Bible arrived, I let it sit for weeks, afraid I would ruin it if I dared to write in it. I eventually did, though, and have left sloppy notes and wobbly underlinings throughout it.
Each day that I pick up my Bible I am building a habit so that eventually sitting with Scripture will be part of the natural rhythm of each day. Eventually Scripture will be as familiar to me as an old friend. This desire to be in the Word is what draws me to the Ethiopian man and Saint Philip in the Book of Acts.
When we meet the Ethiopian man he is deep in study of Sacred Scripture. He doesn’t understand what he is reading but he is present with it nonetheless. His time in prayerful contemplation has prepared his heart for an encounter with the Gospel. Once he hears the Good News of Jesus Christ, he recognizes the Truth and asks to enter the Church and a life with the Sacraments. (Acts 8:27-38)
And Saint Philip’s knowledge of Scripture is even more amazing. Not only does he know the writings of the Old Testament but he lived the Gospels! Philip intimately knew the Word of God as his dear friend, Jesus. And surely his time with the Word—both the written and the Living—disposed him to be open to the promptings of the Spirit and enabled him to evangelize.
In the Gospel Jesus quotes Isaiah, “They shall all be taught by God” (John 6:45) and so it is when we study the Bible. Sisters, when I read my Bible each day it is not like reading any other book. I read, I pray on it, I think about it, I reread, I underline, I study the footnotes and look up the cross references. Exclamation points and hearts are drawn in the margins near passages that amaze me or move my heart. I jot down words the Lord places in my heart as I study His Word.
My Bible is not picture perfect but that’s okay. I have come to realize that the messier my Bible the more rightly ordered my life.
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Do you have a Bible you’re comfortable picking up and engaging with? Find one today.
Bonnie Engstrom is a writer, baker, speaker, and homemaker. She, her husband, and seven children live in central Illinois, and her son’s alleged miraculous healing through the intercession of Venerable Fulton Sheen was submitted to the Vatican for Sheen’s beatification. Bonnie pretends she has a green thumb, bakes a fantastic chocolate chip cookie, loves naps and chai tea, and blogs. You can find out more about her here.