How to Catch a Glimpse of God

I balked when Erin asked me to write a post about why I read the Bible. Sounds simple enough, right? But my mind went blank. Utterly empty.

I knew why I used to read the Bible:

  • All good Christians I knew read the Bible.
  • I was told I should.
  • I thought God would be happy with me if I did.
  • I felt closer to God when I did something “spiritual” (reading my Bible being at the top of the list).
  • It was tradition.

But now I understand that Christianity isn’t about what I do but about what Christ has done on my behalf. So why do I read the Bible now? I wasn’t sure.

I thought about it for a few weeks, and slowly I began to realize why I read the Bible.

How can I become conformed to an image that I never behold?

I read the Bible to catch a glimpse of God’s beauty, because that’s where God has revealed Himself. Then, as I get to know God, I try to imitate Him, and He begins to make me beautiful like Him.

Here’s how this looked this past week.

Someone close to me hurt me. I knew in my head that their sin wasn’t a personal attack against me, but it sure felt that way. I wanted to lash out at them with hurtful words, but instead, I grabbed my Bible, journal, and pen. The Lord quickly showed me Himself in John 8:3–7,

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him.

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Am I without sin? (No!)

I saw how the religious leaders insisted that others keep the law perfectly, but Jesus (who kept the law perfectly on our behalf!) extended grace to this woman. It reminded me of John 1:17,

The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

If Jesus extends grace, and if I am full of Jesus (Col. 2:10), than how can I be anything but gracious?

So now I know. This is why I read the Bible: to gaze on God’s beauty, and to become beautiful like Him.

Why do you read the Bible?

PS: I have to thank Jen Wilkin for helping me see this more clearly. Here’s just a snippet from her excellent book Women of the Word. You should read it! I love it so much, that I’m giving a copy away to one of you who leaves a comment on this post.

Someone asked me recently if I was a God-worshipper or a Bible worshipper. . . . My answer was simple: I want to be conformed to the image of God. How can I become conformed to an image that I never behold?

I am not a Bible-worshipper, but I cannot truly be a God-worshipper without loving the Bible deeply and reverently. Otherwise, I worship an unknown god. A Bible-worshipper loves an object. A God-worshipper loves a person.

About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York. You can catch all her writing on

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  • Lauren Robertson

    So good! This year my desire is to spend time in God’s Word daily in order to know HIM more and to have my mind transformed by His truth. It’s amazing how easy it is accept worldly mindsets even though they are often completely contradictory to the Word!

    • Paula Hendricks

      Go, Lauren, go! Or rather, gaze, Lauren, gaze! 😉

  • Becca

    Before I read my Bible in the morning, I pray and ask God to reveal to me what He wants me to learn from Him that day. I am able to learn about God’s character, I gain truth to apply to my life, and I am encouraged to become more like Jesus through my sanctification process. Thank you for today’s post Paula!

  • Catherine

    Thanks Paula and ROH team for the wonderful resources you’ve provided since the beginning of the year to guide and encourage us through growing deeper in God’s word.

  • Justine

    Thanks for sharing! I used to read the Bible because I was told. Slowly I grew to realize that there’s so much more to it! The Bible is our tool. It’s here so we can take comfort in it and know that there is so much more to life. After joining a Bible study, I know read so I can hear God and to be nearer to HIm. His word is too special to take for granted. I absolutely love that the LYWB Blog has started this series!!

  • Sarah

    I enjoy reading why people read the Bible. I feel like at times it becomes so habitual for me, when I want it to really mean something. But I have been so thankful that lately, God has been pointing out specific verses to me that apply to a certain trial that I’m going through. It’s so great to be encouraged through the Word!

  • Kara

    I want to be beautiful on the inside first and foremost!!!

  • karli

    I read the Bible because it is one of the ways that God speaks to me. It is like His letter just for me! 🙂

  • Dolly

    Thanks for this post Paula. I am so thankful for this blog and especially this month’s study about why we read the Bible. At times I think oh I can go today without his word but when I read where I was going to read the day before I realize the blessing and message that he had waiting for me and I turned it down by not reading my bible that day. He has such amazing promises and reassurance for me each day. And I pray that I will become more faithful not only in reading his word but learning more about Him. Thank you again for your ministry! God bless

  • Abby

    Thanks for posting this! This is something that I’ve been struggling with and this has been a great encouragement for me.

  • Allie

    Wow, I love that quote! Thank you so much for this post– It is causing me to think more intently about why and how I’m reading the bible. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Philomena

    Yes!!! Thank you so much for bringing up the pony that we re not to worship the bible but worship the living God! … I read my bible so I can KNOW him … I read Colossians today about how he has rescued us and i danced around the room!! No one was watching but I was just over joyed with the real ness of it all!! … Reading my bible as I’m so excited for what’s to come spending eternity with Him wow!!!!

  • La Princessa

    I read the Bible because, by doing it, I become closer to God. I may not even be conscious of it, but as I continue to spend time daily in His Word, my thoughts and His thoughts become more alike- and there’s less opposition to what He says. Reading God’s Word has become a necessity because I just keep wanting more and more of Him.

  • Brooklyn Mikinzie

    Whoa! Thought-provoking question! I will admit that sometimes I read the Bible simply just to say I have, and not with a goal of growing in a relationship with my Creator. Im still struggling with reading the Bible every day, but when I do, I feel joyful and free the rest of the day.
    The main reason I read the bible is to grow in my relationship with God, know Him better, and become like Him.
    Ive never heard of that book! Sounds awesome! Thank you for this post.

  • Stephanie Hanagan

    Oh my! That quote at the end gets right to the heart of how I’ve been feeling about Bible reading and my daily devotions lately. I’ve been talking a lot to my mentor about the dryness I’ve been feeling in the word lately, and the struggle I’ve had to open my Bible and come away with anything meaningful. It felt like something on my to do list, something to check off because that was what was expected of me. My problem was that I was focusing on the object, not the person. The last day or so, I’ve been trying to allow the spirit to lead me in the word, instead of just going for the next chapter of the book of the Bible, I’ve been reading. It’s brought new life and joy to me in the word!
    Thank you for this post though! It is encouraging to see that other Christians struggle the same way too 🙂

  • Kiley Robinson

    Great post! I always felt like I had to read the bible because that is what we’re supposed to do. But, lately I have finally began to understand it and it finally makes sense! Now the bible is so exciting to read and I am learning so much about God! But the best part is realizing that the bible holds all the answers! Whenever I face a problem or hurt I open my bible and there is always a scripture to help me get through whatever I am facing!!

  • Elizabeth Williams

    I do have to admit that there have been times in my Christian life when I’ve just read the Bible out of habit or a sense of duty. You don’t really get a lot out of it that way. The way I get the most out of reading my Bible is when I am truly seeking God through the pages, when I’m asking God to reveal Himself to me!

  • Kori Buchanan

    Thanks so much for this post. This is one of the things I’ve been learning recently. It’s so easy to go through the motions and forget my main reason for reading the Bible — to know God!

  • yesenia suarez

    at age nine, i learned.. God is Love.. and that stuck with me. if we are to be Christ like.. how can we not be filled with love??.. love and grace

  • Mattea

    The Bible is so powerful! It is like food for my soul. I feel refreshed and “full” after I read God’s word!

  • I’m Trying

    I read the Bible because it’s so relateable and deep, and it really shows me how wise and understanding God is of my condition (as a human). Not only does it give me guidance but it also provides comfort, reading that God knows and understands everything; He’s there for me. I read the Bible because I am weak without being connected to God through His Word.

  • Kate

    Wow, thanks so much for this. I’ve tried tons of times to read through “Bible In a Year” programs but never got farther than Exodus 3… I started again this year following a program from She Reads Truth (another great Christian ladies blog!) and praying that the Lord will help me stick through it. But, as I read your post, I realized that every single one of your old reasons are MY reasons, and one more – I feel guilty if I don’t try to read, the same guilt I would feel if I cheated on a test or told my friend a not-so. The thought that we read the Bible to learn how to emulate God’s character has been told to me countless times, and while I know it in my mind, I need constant reminders that it needs to be in my heart. Thank you so much for this post and reminding me for the real reason.

  • Kim

    Love this…such great wisdom here 🙂 Just read your book and found it so helpful and can’t wait to share it with my daughter!

    • Paula Hendricks

      Thanks, Kim!

  • Niki

    Great post…….so thankful for this blog!