When was the last time the Bible astonished you? I don’t mean something in the Bible. I mean the Bible itself.

Perhaps you’re not entirely sure what I’m talking about. The Bible’s existence? That’s always struck you as a given, not a miracle.

I can relate. As a kid, I respected the Bible. I even planned to read it cover to cover one day. But compared to my glossy album of basketball trading cards, it simply lacked luster. I’ll get around to it, I must’ve thought while staring at the shelf. Yawn.

For years I continued to affirm the truthfulness of Scripture with my lips while functionally neglecting it with my life. Even though I genuinely trusted God and knew much about his Word, I maintained a respectful ambivalence toward it that lasted through high school. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that things decisively changed.

So what was I missing? What did I fail to grasp, or even consider, for almost two decades? I was missing what the existence of God’s Word proves about God himself.

Talkative God

If the existence of the Bible reveals anything about God, it’s that he’s a talker. He could have remained silent. He really could have. But he didn’t. Your Bible is tangible evidence that the Maker of the universe is a communicator; he initiates, reveals, and speaks.

There are, after all, only two options when it comes to knowledge of our Creator: revelation or speculation. Either he speaks, or we guess.

And he has spoken. As someone once put it, the God of heaven and earth forfeited “his personal privacy” to befriend us. I love that. Your Bible is like an all-access pass into the revealed mind and heart of God.

Your Bible is like an all-access pass into the revealed mind and heart of God.

So far, so good. But here’s what I missed growing up. I assumed that since God is a talker, I must somehow deserve his words. Why else would he have bothered to say so much?

Doubly Undeserving

But not only do I not deserve to hear from God, I am doubly undeserving of it. First, because I am simply a created being. Second, because I am a sinner.

It’s amazing enough that God would communicate with creatures of the dust. In Genesis 1 and 2, he fashions our first parents and befriends them with words. Again, he didn’t have to do this. We run the risk of being so familiar with the story that it somehow fails to stun us, or even to interest us. Of course God initiated a friendship with Adam and Eve, we think. Of course he wanted them to know his love. Of course he talked with them. That’s just what God . . . does.

We should never take for granted that the exalted Creator would befriend the work of his hands. But that’s precisely what he did.

We should never take for granted that the exalted Creator would befriend the work of his hands. But that’s precisely what he did.

As the story continues in Genesis 3, everything unravels as Adam and Eve listen to the whispers of a serpent over the words of God. Eating the fruit wasn’t a minor infraction; it was cosmic treason against their good and generous Lord.

Have you ever received the silent treatment after offending someone? It’s not pleasant. Sometimes it’s deserved; sometimes it’s not. Though Adam and Eve deserved the ultimate silent treatment for all eternity, God initiated a conversation. He stooped to speak. He pursued a relationship with rebels, one that would require the death of his only Son to repair.

So, given that we’re not only creatures of the dust but also traitors against heaven’s throne, the talkativeness of God is astounding. He would’ve been entirely right to leave us to ourselves, sunk in an ocean of ignorance (since we’re creatures) and guilt (since we’re sinners).

But he didn’t. He peeled back the curtain. And then opened his holy mouth.

Any authentic knowledge of God hinges on his generous self-disclosure to us. Only through his words can we discover who he is, what he’s like, what he’s after, and how we can know him.

This ought to humble us deeply. The Bible you possess is evidence that God loves you and wants a relationship with you. No matter who you are or how many times you’ve spurned his love, he is still moving toward you, still talking to you—still befriending you—through a book.

Editors’ note: 

This is an adapted excerpt from Matt Smethurst’s book Before You Open Your Bible: Nine Heart Postures for Approaching God’s Word (10Publishing, 2019).