Earlier this week I came across an article in Newsweek called “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin”. This article does a great job painting Christians as religious fools. Christians are casually referred to as “God’s frauds, cafeteria Christians who pick and choose which Bible verses they heed with less care than they exercise in selecting side orders for lunch.” Of course that’s a little harsh but, the sad truth is that in many regards we are not as informed about the Bible as we’d like to think. Here are a few things to keep in mind when reading the Bible .
1. Good but not God
Look in the back window of the car, see it, that fading old Bible in the back window serving as a shield against theft. There are times when we treat the Bible as if it is God. The Bible is good but it’s not God, it’s more like an collection of greatest hits album. In the Bible we have the words of scribes, prophets and even some fishermen who lived in different times, all joined together in one book. While these writers had a relationship with God it does not mean that their writings had some sort of superpower. Laying the Bible on a stack of bills will not cause the bills to go away. We should have a healthy respect for the Bible but please remember that the Bibles we carry are only paper and ink covered by leather, unless you only use the Bible app on your phone. The power of the Bible is not in its presence but our personal application of it’s content. We should love it enough not to simply show it but to read it, that’s where the power is.
2. God inspired not God written
The Bible was inspired by God, but we need to be careful when we say it was “written” by God. The words in the Bible were written by people who felt moved by God to tell others what they heard God say to them. Let’s remember that they were human and also wrote about things happening in and around them. for example, when you read the writings of Paul pay attention when he says, “I Paul say…”, look at the context and you may notice that he’s simply sharing with he personally thinks about an issue. Also be mindful, that the words were inspired by God but the writers did NOT have you in mind when the wrote, they were writing to a specific group of people. The reason the Bible should be important to us is because we believe God inspired the writers. Let’s not love the idea of the Bible more than we love the inspired words in the Bible. The writers were inspired by God to write but they were not puppets, they were human.
3. God inspired and Subway
One of the cool things about Subway is that you have many ingredients available to you and you are empowered to build the sub however you like it. I generally like to aid oil and vinegar to my sub, but you may hate oil and vinegar. You may hate oil and vinegar so much that you think I’m strange for adding it to my sub. Too often we open the Bible then pick and choose which scriptures we want to apply to our lives, and to others life. We are quick to quote the Old Testament in an effort to correct someone else but, when it’s used to fix us we throw up the “we are in the New Testament era” shield. As we read the Bible let’s try to understand what the author wrote and the meaning behind it. When reading the Bible let’s try as best we can to read less of our bias into the scripture and open our hearts up to what it’s saying to us.
4. Good God it’s a Mirror
The Bible’s power is not seen in it’s ability to ward off would be thieves. The Bible’s power is not seen when we throw scriptures like daggers into others. The power of the Bible is seen when we read it to see ourselves, not the version that we show others but the version of us that God sees. When we read the Bible allow it to be a mirror that shows us our blemishes, scars and even our internal faults. The power of the Bible is seen when we use the inspired word of God to helps us look more like the person that God wants us to be.
Let’s love the Bible enough to actually read it. At Uplift Church part of our new members training encourages everyone to do two things daily, read the Bible and pray. Let’s be informed Christians who love the word of God for the power that it has in our lives. We are better Christians when we read the Bible for personally application. When we begin to read the Bible and apply it to our lives more, we give others less room to attack our beliefs.