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MY JOURNEY WITH THE BIBLE

By Thomas E. Durst

I would like to share with you about the role the Bible has had in my life since 1951. However, I first want to say that I have given what I feel to be a very fair consideration of all of the points of view about the Bible which have been postulated over the years-the strict fundamentalist, the ultra-liberal, and every gradient of viewpoint between the polar extremes. I think that the extremists of right wing fundamentalism have probably turned more people away from the Bible than the frontal attacks of those who would totally destroy anyone's faith in it. I'm well aware of the many wrong uses that people have made of the Bible. I prefer not to dwell upon them for the negative doesn't deserve a whole lot of recognition. So I'm not being naive when I testify to what the Bible has meant to me personally. I'm speaking from my own experience with the Bible which is my reality that has been totally awesome. I also know that over the centuries millions of others have found spiritual transformation and new life from their encounters with God's Word as they have found it in the Bible. When I've read the personal biographies of such people as George Muller, Dwight L. Moody, Billy Graham, and many others who spent hours in prayer before an open Bible, claiming the precious promises and receiving the divine life of God, I'm led to believe that those who are truly hungry for God and who give the Bible a fair chance in their life, will have their spiritual hunger satisfied as well as blessing literally multitudes of people. I want all that God has for me so that I have spiritual food to impart to those who are open for more than this old material world has to offer.

Early in 1951 when I was turning 14 I opened and read the Bible for the very first time in my life. I felt that my life was very empty and I was earnestly seeking to fill that big hole! There was a KJV Bible in our home along with some other Christian books and magazines that came in the mail regularly and had largely been unread by anyone in the family. My parents had stopped attending church when I was preschool. My mother never gave up her personal faith but going to church kind of got lost in the shuffle of daily life. I often saw my mother before an open Bible in her own quiet space. Probably folks from her former church were sending the Christian magazines all of those years. My heart was deeply touched by some of the articles in these papers and I remember them quite vividly to this present day.

Within a matter of a few days after I started to read the Bible and some of the other Christian materials, I felt something very wonderful happening deep down inside me. Floodgates of joy, happiness, peace, and indescribable love were opening up. No words would ever begin to describe how that empty hole started to be filled. As I read a little bit from the book of Genesis and from Matthew I began to sense a presence, an atmosphere, that somehow reminded me of some early childhood revelations that had been given to me but that I had not given much thought to for probably 2-4 years. I enrolled in a Bible Correspondence Course and began a diligent study which was to shape the rest of my life, right up to the present. I frequently refer to this 1951 beginning point for it was my personal Exodus of leaving the land of Egypt, spiritual bondage and emptiness, and beginning my journey to the promised land of milk and honey. This experience happened several months before I started to attend any church. The Bible and literature that expounded the message of the Bible put my feet upon the Rock Christ Jesus. What a difference it made! What a hope it still gives me everyday as I have my devotional time in the Word and in prayer each morning.

Over the past 50+ years I can honestly say that I have spent hundreds of hours studying and reading the Bible and related literature. My delight in the Bible has been insatiable! I've always felt a wonderful "Presence" hovering over me and have thought of the story in Exodus where the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle when the Israelites finished building it after the pattern that was shown to Moses in the wilderness (See Exodus 40:34, 35). Over and over again the Presence of the Living God has just filled me to overflowing with love, joy, and peace. I still find myself saying wow! when some glorious truth of God is revealed to me as I ponder the words of truth that I find in scripture.

I am aware that many good people have not experienced this love of scripture in the same way that I have and I honor each person's status in life. I'm only seeking to share my own experience and I encourage each person to find their way spiritually as is best for them. It is sufficient for me to share God's working in my own life and to be obedient to the voice of the Holy Spirit prompting me to do that. I have some more things to share about my journey with the Bible in subsequent articles. I want to share the method of interpretation that works the best in my life.

[This article was written on April 28, 2005 and is part of an going series of articles. I would appreciate feedback from readers.