First, with the History Channel's recent mini-series on Scripture, there is a renewed interest in talking about the good book. Yet, as interested as we are, the reality is also there is a passivity when it comes actually to reading the Bible. A recent study suggests the average American household owns 4.4 Bibles, yet rarely reads any of them.
That is not said to make you feel guilty! The Bible is complex, confusing, and even frustrating. Churches have not always done a great job of helping people get into the Bible. In fact, pastors can occasionally give off the vibe that you need a seminary degree in order to understand Scripture by the very fact that we get to preach on the Bible week after week. The cumulative effect, and null message to the People of God sitting in the pews, is that the Bible is to the pastor like the Medical textbook is to a doctor.
Yet, the truth is we are living in an era when the word "expert" has lost its shine, because the truth is we all have bias, brokenness, and make mistakes. In fact, the reality of wikipedia and open source sharing reminds us that there is a blessing in collective wisdom and dialogue. That is true when we approach Scripture.
My other interest in the Bible is that so often it is thrown around as proof for a certain position or understanding or interpretation. When people distance themselves from the Bible, we distance ourselves from the story of who we are and whose we are. We distance ourselves from the story that tells us about an unconditional grace and unceasing love for us, not just our ancestors. We are the People of God and this is our story that defines and reminds us of our relationship with God.
In the midst of trying to wade through the story, it is easy to get off track. And so we need others, we need companions, in the midst of reading the Scripture. As Diane Jacobson says, "We hear the Good News from others." So often we try to go at the Bible alone. And when we do, we would be wise to heed the wisdom of Revelation 10 when John of Patmos ate the scroll, while it was sweet like honey to his tongue, it caused a stomachache. How many of us sometimes feel like the Bible causes our stomachs to churn and our minds to swirl and our hearts to beat faster? Part of the reason is we believe that we should already know this.
But, the truth is, I don't! I still get mixed up and need help of others to share the Good News of certain books, chapters and verses. I hope you will read David Lose's book. And more than that, I pray you will join with others in reading Scripture. In future posts, I will continue to reflect on Scripture.
For now, perhaps you can find your Bible from your childhood and my prayer is these posts will help rekindle the promise, hope, and joy we find in the Word.
May the traces of God's grace move in your life as Spring awakens around us.