Sunday, May 09, 2021
Sunday Reflection: Reading the Book
I take the Bible seriously-- I read it and discuss it every week. I find it endlessly fascinating. But like many other people, I had to figure out what it is before it became truly meaningful.
It is a book full of truths, that I look to for guidance and the teachings of Jesus that animate my faith.
That seems pretty straightforward, right? But I should also be clear about what it is NOT (at least to me):
-- Some kind of "instruction book for life," in a simplistic sense. In other words, I don't think clear answers are laid out to life's tough questions. Shoot, if we treat it that way, we might end up with concubines. Rather, it teaches truths and principles that we have to work hard to apply to life; and sometimes those truths and principles takes us to things that are difficult.
-- Also, it's not a work wholly of non-fiction. I know some people are alarmed at that claim, but think about it: Jesus uses parables that are clearly not literally true stories. The book as a whole is collection of poetry, history, legends from deep within a culture, and letters from one person to another (or to a group of people). It's a mix.
-- Finally, it's not an object to worship. Sometimes, it seems like people treat it that way. Rather, it guides us to understanding the worship of God.
I find the Bible endlessly complex and fascinating, full of compelling characters and wonderful stories. The deepest truths I know are there. But to get to those truths takes real work. I remember as a kid seeing a woman with a Bible that was loved to death, with a worn cover and full of side-tabs, and I wondered if that was appropriate.
I don't wonder that any more.