There are two ways most people tend to read the Bible. One is to read it mostly as an indictment of the human race. In other words, we’re sinful rebels who are bent on finding life apart from God.

The other is to read Scripture as an invitation. Yes, we’re sinners who have turned away from our Creator God and His design for our lives (Romans 3:23). Yes, we’ve rebelled. But God longs to forgive and to restore us so that we can declare to the world His story of rescue and renewal.

If we read the Bible as an indictment, we’ll tend to see God as angry and harsh. But if we read the Bible as an invitation, we’ll be more inclined to see the merciful and loving God who “sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:17).

Reading the Bible only as an indictment heaps on shame and condemnation. Reading it as indicted, yet invited, can cause us to feel broken and heavy-hearted, but it will also lift us up with great hope. Because we belong to Jesus, we have the capacity to be so much more than our sinful flesh. “New life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Indictment alone screams, “Try harder!” Invitation whispers, “Surrender.” Indictment calls for more effort from us. Invitation calls us to drink deep of God’s grace. Indictment barks, “Clean up your act!” Invitation says, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear My voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Revelation 3:20).

When you read the Bible, consider yourself invited.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Luke 21:1-24