READING YOUR BIBLE
Over the years I have made a lot of notes to myself. Some of them are cryptic, meaning they meant something at the time, but now are less clear. I also have left out quotation marks and attributions in my notes. As a result, I have to qualify what I say, believing what I am remembering is true. So I found this little note about advertising for the New Century Bible. Apparently it included the quip, “A Bible that is easier to understand.” To that advertising my response was, “We don’t need a Bible that is easier to understand. We need a Bible that challenges us to live.”
We have placed high priority on understanding Scripture, and we should. We need commentaries and dictionaries. Some Bible footnotes are very useful. Word studies can open big windows on learning. Understandably, we look to the Bible for answers.
But let’s not believe that any Bible translator has it within his or her power to render the Bible “easy to understand.” I will go to my grave with a less than complete comprehension of many passages of Scripture.
Beside that, our goal in reading the Bible is not merely to understand, but to learn enough to impact the way we live. We must read not just for head knowledge. We must read that our lives will reflect Jesus and bear witness to Him.
If we are honest, we have to admit that read-ing the Bible is always going to involve a struggle. Some of the words and language are difficult and the concepts foreign. For instance, do you have a ready answer for those who question the Israelite’s committing genocide on the peoples of the Promised Land? How do you reconcile the free will of humans and the sovereignty of God?
Yet I don’t want you to think of the Bible as an impossible book. But neither do I want you to think you have it down pat. You don’t. Which is why we need to open the pages of Holy Scripture with great reverence and read the words with eager seriousness.
Right now is a good time to make the effort, too. Read the stories of Jesus’ nativity with fresh eyes and come to worship during Advent and at Christmas. Then read Joshua anew in preparation for our six-week study of it during January.
The Holy Spirit will unleash His Flame. Just be ready.
Grateful to be your pastor,