Do you read the Bible?
Last weekend Randy and I watched Luther, the film about Martin Luther's life story. Part of Luther's frustration with the Catholic church at the time was that they held mass in Latin and read the Bible to the people in Latin, a language they could not understand or read for themselves. So Luther set out to translate a copy of the New Testament into German, so the common man could read it. We've come a long way since the age when men had to rely on the priests to tell them what the Bible says. If we can read, we can pick up versions of almost every style and language known to man. Yet how many leave this best-selling book of all time on a shelf, or perhaps do not own one at all?
I had a conversation the other day with someone about how people assume something is in the Bible but come to find out, they are wrong. Mary Magdalene comes to mind. Many people think she was a prostitute, but the Bible never calls her that. She did have seven demons cast out of her by Jesus.
When I was researching my future story on Rahab, I found a Jewish website that said Rahab had married Joshua. Now I love Israel and the Jewish people, and maybe this idea is Jewish tradition, but in this I will have to disagree with them. The Bible says she married Salmon and through him, she was in the lineage of Christ.
It is so easy to assume things without checking them out. I shared emails with a friend a week or so ago, who said most people think Jezebel was a goddess worshiper. I knew Jezebel worshiped other gods, but I thought Baal and Asherah were male, so I responded in surprise, thinking Jezebel worshiped false gods but wasn't a goddess worshiper. I'm not sure why I thought that, but at the time was too busy to check it out. But honestly, a few clicks of the mouse on Bible Gateway's website and then a Google search told me that Asherah was female. So Jezebel was a goddess worshiper.
The Bible is a big book and even those who read it and study it all their life will never grasp all its meaning or remember all of its details. But reading it at all is a good place to start.
Another conversation this week has made me ponder this truth. People can read the Bible as literature, can read it out of obligation thinking they are supposed to do so to earn God's favor, or not read it at all because they are too busy or just aren't interested.
But Jesus said, "The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." Some people can hold a Bible in their hands, never realizing that the answers to life they seek are within those very pages. They might not remember the details about Mary Magdalene or who Rahab married or Jezebel worshiped, but they will find truth for living and life eternal offered there.
All we have to do is seek Him and read it.