My friend in my Master’s program speaks seven languages. I was very intrigued by the number of languages she speaks so I started asking her questions about the order of languages she learned. She stated that her first two languages are native African languages, followed by French. Because her dad was a diplomat, she traveled the world and was able to pick up Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.
I was amazed that she learned English recently, no more than five years ago. Her grammar and writing styles are impeccable. I found her helping other native English speakers by providing invaluable input in their research papers. I remarked and told her that she is doing such an incredible job. This was when she said to me that since she is not a native English speaker, she learned the grammatically correct English in class (she had a good environment to learn) and also was diligent in putting in the effort to understand the language. She also speaks and writes pure English because her English has not been corrupted with jargon that native English speakers sometimes use.
I found what she said phenomenal, especially if I use this analogy to illustrate the advantage new believers have in studying the bible!
I was raised in the church, and I tell you- I attended EVERY Sunday school service. I was in every VBS (Vocational Bible School), every Christmas concert, every volunteer event and every church camp since age two! My Sundays involved doing my memory verses. I remember memorizing Psalm 91, Psalm 23 etc. at an early age. Although I am happy about my Christian upbringing, I must say that I struggle with one thing as an adult- reading the bible. When I read the bible, I sometimes gloss over some things because this is something I grew up learning. I often hear the Holy Spirit tell me, “Slow down!” and when I do, I learn wonderful things.
I know a couple of people who recently got saved, and within one year, they still have that fire to read the word, the hunger they have is unbelievable. They are keen to look at the fine details in the scripture, just like my friend who was eager and diligent to learn the English language. Sometimes new believers have a better advantage because every story is new and they look at scripture with exceptional eyes. Of course, every new believer varies, but I am looking at the potential they have because they see the word in a new lens.
For this year, I am taking advantage of my journaling bible. I put away my old bible since it was falling apart, so I am hoping that this new journaling bible will help me SLOW down and let the Holy Spirit move through the word. It will also allow me to pause and jot down my thoughts on scripture or if a particular passage stands out.
Question: If you grew up in the church, do you resonate with the struggle that I have? Comment below, I am hoping to learn from your experience! Also, if English is not your native language, please let me know if you share the same sentiments as my friend regarding learning the language!
I wish you a fruitful year learning and re-learning the word of God.
Made of Still