We Have a Winner and Some Encouraging Scriptures

Last week I wrote down my thoughts related to reading through the 6-volume ESV Reader’s Bible a couple years ago. In a word, I loved it.

I asked Justin Taylor, VP of Crossway, if they might be able to give away a set, and he generously made one available. So I asked people to post one of their favorite Scriptures in the comments and I would pick one at random.

As the Lord would have it, the winner is CJ Finch, who left the verse: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might” (Mt. 22:37). If you entered but didn’t win, I have good news! You still use the Bible you currently own, and since Christmas is still 10 days away, you have time to put one of the ESV Reader’s Bibles on your list, or buy one for someone else.

Taste and See

I was surprised how encouraging it was to read through the comments. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, considering it was a collection of Scriptures that people have found edifying! Again and again, God speaks comfort, strength, mercy, promise, truth, and grace to us in his Word. We taste and see that he really is good. Here are a few verses people left on my last post, with comments from those who posted them:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He’ll direct your path. (Prov. 3:5) Like most, My life has been filled with ups and downs. From seizures as a teenager, to addictions as an adult. When I felt like I was walking alone and couldn’t see a step in front of me, this verse always encouraged me. It’s not about what I see ahead, so long as my eyes are fixed on the one who saved me. – Jared

“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29) I’ve spent way too much time the past few years driving myself crazy trying to figure out every nook and cranny of theology. But I’ve realized (in part thanks to this verse) that God can’t be locked into a system… we can’t comprehend the infinite with our finite minds. So I’ve learned to accept the tensions of Scripture and the mysteriousness of God and instead focus on obedience to the things he has chosen to reveal. – Adam

“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (Is. 1:18) It’s my favorite verse because of how beautifully it depicts our wretched, despicable sins being washed away (undeservedly!) and how God has made us new through the sacrificial death of His Son. The gospel is a message that we as Christians should not overlook, and this verse is a powerful reminder of that. – Christine

“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20) This was the verse on a poster I saw in the mid 1960s. I found my parents’ dusty, unused Bible to look it up. Found it, read the whole chapter, then the whole letter, then the whole Bible. I was nine years old, and have read the Bible cover to cover many times since, in various translations. These days, I read the Bible aloud to my wife (of 41 years) to start our day. Even today, I still feel some excitement whenever we start 1 John. – John

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” (Is. 26:34) My wife reminded me of this verse. We’ve had a child dealing with seizures and recently been in a children’s hospital while tests were ran and came back. Upon reflection this was on her heart. God is good and sovereign. We can trust him with the bad and the good. – Chris

Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2) This season, I have been continually reminded to keep my eyes on Jesus through all the trials, disappointments, and distractions of 2020, and to keep running with endurance. Nothing we go through will compare to what Jesus willingly went through on the cross – for the JOY set before Him. He is our hope and our joy! – Lynnda

Over the past year, Genesis 1:1 has moved from the dusty past of preschool memorization to the forefront of importance in my thinking – “In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth.” If we miss that, we miss everything, God is the everlasting creator. We live in His world, and must abide by His Word. – Becca

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins… and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—” (Eph. 2:1, 3-5) These verses, again and again and again, through multiple decades, have beat the drum of the gospel ever louder in my life. They’ve reminded me how desperately in need I am when I’m puffed up and feeling full of myself, and how desperately in need I am when I’m broken and feeling beaten down. No matter the season, my need is always the same: the “rich mercy,” the “great love,” and the Christ that brings me back to life! “It is by grace you have been saved.” – Pierce

“I distinguish the end from the beginning, and ancient times from what is still to come, saying: ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” (Isaiah 46:10)! Simply a stunner of a verse. Reminds me at times who is ultimately in control, and who I need to put my trust into! – David

Perfect, Sure, Right, and Pure

God’s Word is always what God promises it to be:

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” (Psalm 19:7–10, ESV)

Whatever plan you choose to read the Bible in the coming year, I pray God and his Word would increasingly become your study, your mediation, and your delight.

2 Responses to We Have a Winner and Some Encouraging Scriptures

  1. Boyd December 24, 2020 at 2:56 PM #

    Hello Bob, I just wanted to leave you a note of encouragement. My wife and I bought a copy of the 6-volume ESV Reader’s Bible after reading your previous post. We’ve been reading from it for the last few days since it arrived and we’re loving it. This morning I read in one sitting what would be Genesis 12-20. We’re seeing things in the word we’ve never seen before and found old stories fresh again. Thank you for your recommendation and for sharing insights you gained from this year’s reading. God bless and we hope you have a Merry Christmas.

    • Bob Kauflin December 24, 2020 at 10:56 PM #

      Boyd, thanks for letting me know about your experience! My hope in writing the post was that others would have a similar experience as mine. May God continue to reveal himself to you through the reading of his Word!

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