How to Eat an Elephant

  • Disclaimer: I do not advocate for the eating of elephants.

Often when my son attempts something new, he complains when he does not master it quickly and effortlessly. I have tried to impress upon him that everything takes time and practice. One of my favorite dad-isms is to ask, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” This applies to all areas of life, from tackling a tough homework assignment to mastering a new skill to reading the Bible.

Sometimes I feel bad for people who come to Christ late in life. (Hear me out.) They come to a faith community, fall in love Christ and the people, make a decision to place their faith and hope fully in King Jesus . . . and then we give them a book to read. And this is not some easy to read Following Christ for Beginngers book either. We give them the Bible, a book made up of sixty-six mini-books written thousands of years ago to people far removed from our modern, primarily Western, mindset! “Here you go! Good luck!”

Let’s face it, the Bible can be a bit daunting. Even for those who have been walking with Christ for years, decades even, learning the Bible seems a lot like . . . well . . . trying to eat an elephant. How can I possibly read, learn, understand, and retain it all? It is one of those tasks that is so big, we don’t even know where to start, and sadly, many people never do.

Something I wish I could encourage everyone to do it is to simply take the Bible one bite at a time. No one expects you to master the Bible in a year. Let’s face it, it is doubtful any of us will ever truly master the Bible in our lifetimes. When it comes to God’s Word, the goal is not to finish but to begin the journey.

When it comes to God’s Word, the goal is not to finish but to begin the journey.

My advice to everyone who is coming to the Bible for the first time is this. Start with the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Read those over and over. Learn about who Jesus is and what He did and taught. Practice memorizing a few key verses. Then move on to Acts and the rest of the New Testament. Watch out for the book of Revelation. That one confuses everyone, so don’t be alarmed if you have trouble.

Remember the Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. God’s Word in the Bible is fuel for that marathon. However, it does us know good sitting on the shelf gathering dust.

Published by Sam Draper

Sam has been with Greencastle Christian Church in Greencastle, Indiana since 2017. He is married to Jessie and they have one son, Joey. Sam completed his Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Formation in 2019. Sam’s favorite hobbies include biking, reading, playing board games, and eating Chipotle burritos.

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