A favorite story from my grandparents’ dinner table still finds a place in my life today. When one of the children would venture to express their distaste for some item served, usually a vegetable, my grandfather would wryly observe: “It’s because you lack it in your system.” In his humorous way, he was reminding fussy eaters that they sometimes most disliked the foods they needed most.
Now there’s not much science in a line like that. You’ll spend more than an afternoon trying to convince me that my distaste for canned beets stems from the fact that I truly need such a disagreeable vegetable in my diet. But a line like that has a way of lingering on the edge of the memory, reappearing at many life moments.
As when I sit down to study Scripture, for instance. Like many other young Christians, I began my life with Jesus by feeding on the Gospels, consuming the stories of His grace and healing as though I could never get enough. I spent comparatively little time in other portions of the Word of God that seemed less attractive to me: the prophetic books of the Old Testament, the works of Moses, in Kings and Chronicles. But then I heard my grandfather’s line echoing from the past: “It’s because you lack it in your system.” Was I, in fact, avoiding those portions of Scripture that I needed most in my search for what brought me comfort and encouragement? Was my “system” of studying Scripture missing what God really wanted to say to me?
As maturing Christians, we need the fullness of God’s Word to help us “grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Eph. 4:15).* The entirety of the Word of God—history and prophecy, parables and epistles, psalms and warnings—is what ought to nourish us, even though our tastes may not seek out all these things. As the apostle elsewhere tells us, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16, 17).
Your system for studying Scripture—like mine—needs balance and proportion, grace and judgment, encouragement and correction. Let’s covenant to be men and women opening our lives to all that Jesus wants to tell us in His Word.