Bible in 365, Week Two: Reading the Bible with my husband (now pastor-approved!)
by Emily McFarlan Miller
Despite the fact we met at a Bible study at a mutual friend’s house, Joel and I had not really studied the Bible and prayed together before we were married. That’s because, depending which Christian dating book messed you up as a teenager, this is a thing that either will lead you to have premarital sex and die or knit you together in spiritual ways you don’t even know until you break up and then you don’t just break up with your boyfriend, you break up with God. And then you die. And go to hell.
(No, really. I read a lot of these books after my friend Claire pointed out in college how badly they had ruined us all for relationships. One I borrowed from a friend even included a time table for when it was appropriate to hold hands, side-hug and spend time alone together. That part I TOTALLY AM NOT MAKING UP–NOT EVEN THE PART ABOUT THE SIDE-HUGS.)
So this was something we asked about during premarital counseling with our pastor, Pastor Aaron Baker of Covenant Presbyterian Church of Chicago.
Pastor Aaron’s advice to us about reading the Bible and praying together was to read the Bible together. And then to pray together. Just to do it, and not to overthink or overspiritualize the whole thing.
So Joel packed the pocket-size ESV he’d gotten from his college alumni association on our honeymoon, and we started to read. We started. And stopped. And started again. A couple days here, part of what he was reading with his men’s Bible study there. This is where having a plan becomes a good idea.
About three weeks ago, we started again. I thought we’d missed a day last week, when the temperature first hit 100 degrees in Chicago and we both worked late and the exhausting heat in our un-air-conditioned apartment caused me to fall asleep almost as fast as I sat down on the couch. But Joel assured me the next day he’d read, aloud, and I even had commented on the spotted goats and the not spotted goats in Genesis 30, “like blessed Saint Radegund, so pious that she chanted the psalms even in her sleep,” as Lauren F. Winner described her in “Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis.” This is where reading with my husband becomes a good idea.
Although, if whatever I had to say about spotted goats and not spotted goats is any as illuminating as St. Radegund’s Latin poetry surely was, we’ll never know. Joel ignored me. He knew I was sleep-talking.
Here are the passages that spoke to me each day this week:
- “I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws” (Genesis 26:4-5).
- So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her (Genesis 29:20).
- “May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other” (Genesis 31:49).
- Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome” (Genesis 32:28).
- And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said (Genesis 37:8).
- Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams” (Genesis 40:8).
- “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires” (Genesis 41:16).
Linking up with:
Photo credit: Bible in 365 now is pastor-approved, thanks to this post from Pastor Aaron Baker on The City. Follow me on Instagram.
- Bible in 365, Week One: Reading the Bible in its entirety for the first time and the God who sees me (emmillerwrites.wordpress.com)
- A new thing (emmillerwrites.wordpress.com)
- One. (emmillerwrites.wordpress.com)