Why the Bible?
Perhaps this seems a strange question coming from a biblical novelist. I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by the reading, teaching, and study of the Bible. I grew up believing it to be the inspired Word of the Living God. And as I’ve said many times before, biblical fiction helped me to see that Scripture was real because it filled in imaginary details that showed me the culture, the times, and how things might have come together. Story helped me hold Scripture in high esteem.But the Bible isn’t viewed today as it was when I was young or even as it was during the years we were raising our children. It is not respected as it once was, as it was by our founding fathers and generations to follow. Instead of letting the Bible shape our lives, we too often let culture shape our view of the Bible.
One of our teaching pastors once said, “Our cultural glasses can blind us to God’s truth. Take off the glasses and we can again begin to see and honor God’s Word above all else.”
Do we do that? Or have we become cultural Christians who have taken a low view of the Bible and a higher view of our world around us?
Perhaps people will call me simplistic for believing an ancient book. I’ve heard many arguments against it and am not unaware of the skepticism of things that seem problematic within its pages. I’ve had my questions too.
I will never believe that it is wrong to question, to study, or to try to understand. We aren’t going to surprise God by our doubts.
But as I mentioned in the post on prayer, I think we need to pray about everything, including the need for a spirit of understanding when we read His Word. After all, if He is the Author, as the book claims Him to be, then He’s the best person to ask what He means in some of those difficult passages.
Could be He will reveal truth as we learn to read and understand the whole of Scripture.
Human authors enjoy being asked about their books. They like explaining things that seem confusing to the reader. Truth is, only the author really knows what they intended, no matter how many English teachers or professors try to tell us otherwise. (No offense intended to English teachers out there!)
So often we don’t approach the Bible that way. But we can’t crop Scripture like we can a photograph. We can’t scrub out the wrinkles or red eye or that extra person in the background we wish hadn’t been there. We have to take it as a whole and study it with a heart set on seeking what the Author is trying to tell us.
Arguments against Scripture fall short if we understand the purpose of the Book. From beginning to end it tells an amazing, almost scandalous story of grace. It is history set to the music of the beauty of the only Son of God. It breathes redemption and hope into the broken, sinful human condition and carries the only words that can offer us what nothing else can.
Eternal life with a merciful, just, loving and forgiving God. It teaches us the meaning of redeeming grace.
The Bible has been the best-selling book of all time. If you own a copy, I urge you to read it without cultural vision. Pray and ask God what He meant by what He said. True seekers will find Him if they seek Him with all of their heart.