Friday, January 13, 2012


Puzzled by the Bible is our current series at The Ransom Church. So, I figured now would be an appropriate time to address the honest questions I had about the Bible. Actually, my questions have never been about the Bible; rather, they have been about the way we have viewed and addressed this book. Let me begin by stating two foundational premises I hold true and will not even attempt to defend or debate here. The first is that I wholeheartedly believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God...period! The Bible we have today is exactly as God intended it to be and has upheld its integrity through thousands of years and numerous translations. Premise number two stems from the first. Because Scripture is the inerrant Word of God, for me, that means it is authoritative when it comes to the truth it speaks into my life. Just because it is true and authoritative doesn't mean I haven't struggled to apply sound Biblical teaching into my life at times. Just like anyone else, I can be selfish and sometimes I have to learn things the hard way.

During my high school career, I was one of those people you weren't entirely sure how you felt about. On one hand, you wanted to envy me; while on the other hand you despised me on an intense level. It wasn't because I was a super jock--I only wrestled for a few years and while I was decent, I didn't overly excel. It had nothing to do with my rugged good looks or my charm--those didn't develop until college. Neither did it have to do with my extreme popularity--that was non-existent for me through most of high school. The reason you both envied and despised me was because I was one of the students that showed up for class, goofed off, never studied, and still wound up with A's. Because school was such a breeze, I viewed class and homework as a waste of my time. Let's be honest, during that period of my life anything that didn't involve partying, chasing girls, or hanging out with my friends was considered a waste of my time. In order to keep my grades up, I did what some people would call cheating. However, I tend to think of it as being resourceful! Anytime I had homework, I went straight to the back of my text-books for the answers. (Either my teachers were not intelligent enough to figure out the randomly assigned problems were answered in the back, or they simply didn't care--for their sake, I will assume the latter.)

Oddly enough, this is the approach many of us (myself included from time to time) take when it comes to the Bible. If there is any way to bypass the discipline and work of diving into the Word on a regular basis, all the while receiving the benefit that comes from within, we will try it! The problem with that is we begin to lose sight of the big picture the Bible has to offer. I’m not sure about you, but I think we have turned the Bible into something God never inteneded it to be.

We treat the Holy Word of God as a text book on life; looking for the answers to all the mysteries of life. Does Big Foot really exist? What happens to everything vanquished from Bermuda Triangle? How does the Nintendo gun know where, on the screen, I'm pointing (it was way ahead of it's time)? Or maybe you have more legitimate questions along the lines of: Which job should I take? Where should I live? Who should I marry? Or, like every man on the face of this planet, you are curious: what do women really want? While the Bible is chalked full of answers, you have likely discovered it doesn't just lay out answers to all of life's questions. At least, not in the way we hope it will. And then there is always the possibility that some things are intended to be a mystery.

Then there are those who view Bible as nothing more than a self-help manual on life. We dust it off, open it's sacred pages and scour the words within to find some great advice from God when we have exhausted all other avenues of help. When finances are in short supply and our financial adviser can't help, to the Bible we go. Relationships begin to crumble and no amount of counseling is making improvements, surely the Bible can fix it. Not sure how to do that home improvement yourself, maybe reading about Noah will provide answers and motivation--this guy built an ark with a hammer and nails of sorts.

When it comes to the Bible, a paradigm shift may be in order. Instead of viewing it in one of the ways discussed above, perhaps it's time we look at it a bit differently. Just maybe, the Bible is a book of stories--I'm not talking Grimm's Fairy Tales, Dr. Seuss or Where the Red Fern grows kind of stuff. The stories contained in the Bible are much more poignant and pregnant with meaning. The stories within the pages of Scripture cut to the heart and lay open our soul. To quote some words within, "For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires." (Hebrews 4:12). Perhaps this quote from John Eldredge better explains my point. "It's overwhelmingly a book of stories--tales of men and women who walked with God." Maybe approaching the Bible this way will change things for the better!

Again, I have to agree with John Eldredge when he says, "Approach the Scriptures not so much as a manual of Christian principles but as the testimony of God's friends on what it means to walk with him through a thousand different episodes. When you are at war, when you are in love, when you have sinned, when you have been given a great gift--this is how you walk with God."

You see, the Bible is a story. But it is not just any story. It is humanity's story. It is your story. It is my story. But most importantly, it is God's story and how I am to play my part in that grand story.

No comments:

Post a Comment