If you have been following this blog for long, then you know that 2012 has been “The Year of the Word.” I have tried to study, read, listen, study, and read the Bible with the intent of becoming a more devoted user of scripture. Here are a few things I have grown to love about the Bible:
– All of the dirty, harsh, brutally honest, and uncomfortable parts – Chris Webb in his excellent book on the Bible, The Fire of The Word, says, “… the Bible resists us at every turn. It will not cooperate, it will not conform to our schemas, it will not be tamed.” I have often said that if the Bible was to be written today, it wouldn’t be sold in Christian book stores.
The Bible is not a greeting card or a piece of propaganda, it is largely a story with many of the great elements of a good story – conflict, betrayal, love interests, and redemption. This is the type of story that leaves you scratching your head and wrestling with questions.
Better this than a propaganda piece where the point is discovered two lines into the story.
– It is not about me – One of my hangups with the Bible is my frustration when I don’t get it and I am not inspired by it. I have undo expectations that every time I open the Bible I will be changed and moved to action. Did you notice how many times I used the word I in those first two sentences?
I have been treating the Bible like I treat my favorite restaurant. Every encounter has to be as rewarding as that one time when it was glorious and fantastic. When it isn’t a tremendous experience, I get disappointed.
Reading the Bible is not about me. It is about God. He is the main character, he is the hero, he is the element that fills up every page. The Bible doesn’t owe me anything and I need to quit being so entitled in my reading.
– The variety of scripture – I have often been frustrated by the cookie cutter nature of education within churches. Pastors, Bible study teachers, and bloggers seem unaware that there exists a wide range of personalities and learning styles.
Sometimes it seems, the only solution to every discipleship dilemma is to read a book or open up a Bible commentary. In other words, issues of faith and growth can only be solved by linear, analytical, academic approaches.
God has had a say in the kinds of people we are and he did not make us all to enjoy reading and studying. Not all of us work best “in our heads” so to speak.
Some of us need to move, some of us need an emotional connection, some of us need the community of others, some of us need to sing. The beauty of the Bible is that songs, poems, rules, teachings, history, stories, culture, and mystery are all prevalent. God designed it this way because he knew his creation is filled with diversity and variety.
We all need the entire volume of scripture to be the full, robust people of God we are designed to be.