One Bite at a Time

January 18, 2017  - By Rachael Milner

Have you ever heard the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” 

I have a mentor who often asks this question when we start to talk about areas of life that seem overwhelming, too much or too confusing. She will ask me how I would eat an elephant, as if that’s a normal thing to do. But the answer is always the same:

One bite at a time.

Scripture can feel a bit like that elephant when it comes time to dig into its pages. It can seem daunting, too much to handle, paralyzing us from even beginning. But when we take it one word, one page, one chapter at a time – the task of studying and soaking it up becomes useful, delicious and exciting.

The words start to jump off the page as we understand more and more that each sentence, each combination of letters and eloquently captured thought is the very breath of God. In taking these words in, we receive life and meaning. We find hope and joy, encouragement and answers. We begin to know the God of its pages in an intimate and honest way. 

2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that all scripture is God-breathed. God breathed the light into the world, breathed you and I into existence, and He also breathes the words of Scripture. By knowing the Word of God, we know Him more intimately.

Scripture has four primary benefits to the believer: teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness. The goal of these categories? That the man of God may be complete and fully equipped for any and every good work.

Teaching, reproof, correction, training. Hmm. Aren’t those pretty much the same thing?

There are similarities in these verbs, yes, but each one speaks to a specific area or habit that the believer can implement. The goal is the same: to look more like Jesus and be fully equipped for anything we are called to do. But the nuance of each area is specific and intentional.

  • Teaching is to help us know. Scripture is profitable for helping us know God, know what He represents, who He is, what He loves and what He hates. The stories of Scripture are true and trustworthy for knowing more about Jesus. When the Word becomes our Teacher, we can know truth, we can know the character and nature of God, and we can know how the Word shapes and changes us as God’s children.
    • What areas of your life do you feel uncertain about? Do you know what God thinks about those things? Start by looking for Scripture about His character or thoughts and let those be your guide.
  • Reproof is to help us stop. We all have sin in our hearts that does not please God. Some may be obvious – like sexual sin, jealousy, hurting someone for our own gain. But other sins may be more subtle – attitudes of our heart, thoughts that aren’t holy or good. When we come to Scripture and see that these things break the very heart of God, we are encouraged to stop those actions! We can only do this through the power of God – but we can find our guidelines and instruction within the pages of Scripture.
    • One good way to identify these areas is to ask the Holy Spirit to bring conviction. Ask God to open your eyes to the actions, attitudes, or rhythms of your life that are not holy or pleasing. Ask the Lord to give you strength to repent and return to Him as you surrender those things.
  • Correction is to help us change. There may be a habit in our lives that isn’t a complete sin – but maybe it’s not the best for us. I think about areas like watching too much Netflix, scrolling through social media – these are not sins, but are they the very best use of our time? What about shopping and spending money that could have been used in a more intentional way? Correction helps us shape and change the areas of our life that could be even more pleasing to God and that could align us with His righteous desire for His children even more.
    • A helpful way to identify these areas is to commit to writing down how you spend your time over the course of a week. Sometimes we think we’re doing just fine in this area until we see the numbers and facts in writing. What you thought was just a few minutes scrolling can take up an hour without you even realizing – and that might explain why you’re having a hard time getting out of bed to meet with the Lord in the mornings.
  • Training is to help us start. Maybe you are a new believer and you don’t know the first thing about reading the Bible. Maybe you were never taught how to implement spiritual disciplines. Training is a way for us to start, to begin the race, to draw near and begin implementing daily rhythms and routines that push us closer to Christ. There may be a passage of Scripture you’ve never read that opens your eyes to a completely new practice. This is the exciting part of reading the Word – since it is living and active, it never grows stale or stagnant and we can always be challenged when we spend time digging deeper.
    • If you’re intimidated, the good news is that there’s no wrong place to begin with the Lord! Books like James and Proverbs will give you some practical application, the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – will show you how Jesus spent His days on earth, and the Psalms will give you guides to pray no matter what you’re feeling or experiencing. But every single page of Scripture is useful – so you truly can’t go wrong when you’re coming to the Word. Ask God to help you see what practices or habits you need to incorporate into your daily rhythms.

So friends, let’s take a deep breath. Let’s grab our Bibles, open the pages, prayerfully come to the Word of the Lord, and let’s take one bite at time. The goal is not to have a perfectly scheduled like that leads to holiness. The goal is to let the Word of God expose the sin or wrongdoing in your heart so that you see your ultimate need in life: the love of Jesus Christ. When we grab hold of His invitation to walk in grace, we become transformed followers of Christ, and that in turn ripples out into every single aspect of our days. I promise you won’t regret any time spent with the Lord in the love letter He’s graciously written to you!

May His Words be a light to your path, truth in your soul, and peace for your mind this day, dear friends!

walking in grace,


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