All Scripture is God-Breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV
When I grew up in a youth group, every conference or event we went to would inevitably have a speaker who would bang his or her fist on the pulpit and demand that we young people read the Bible. To a young teenage mind this sounded an awful lot like the way my math teacher would bang her first on the desk and demand that I do my homework. So I wasn’t really all that interested in this big book that someone had reduced to homework.
But then my youth leader opened to this verse in Timothy, to invite me to see this ancient book in a different light. This book is not a homework assignment. It is not a history text book. It is not even an owner’s manual, a metaphor I am surprised to know still exists in the world (When was the last time you opened up the owners manual to your car?). This book is not to be studied. This book is alive and well, breathed into by the very God who loves us. We read this book not for facts, but for relationship.
Perhaps this is why so many Christians struggle with this text. If it were as simple as homework, as straightforward as a math problem, it would be easy to approach. But relationships, those are messy. Ask any nerdy middle school boy (I can vouch for the accuracy of this statement from that perspective.), and they will tell you that relationships are to be feared. There is a healthy amount of trembling that goes on when you approach the girl of your dreams, even more so when you approach the God of the universe.
So from time to time I hear the familiar objections: “I don’t know the Bible well enough to volunteer.” “I don’t read the Bible as much as I should.” “What if I make a wrong interpretation?” We fill ourselves with these fears to the point that rather than being the very breath of the God who loves us, it becomes the monster in our closet. It is a book to be avoided at all costs.
For the next few weeks, I’d like to see what we can do about that. I wonder if we can fall in love with this beautiful and authoritative book all over again. I wonder if we can strip away some of the fear, and replace it with the perfect love that the Bible proclaims. I wonder if we can find literacy and familiarity with the Bible by choosing to see it less as a homework assignment, and more as a love letter. So I invite you to tune in every Tuesday for the next few weeks to join me on this journey, but in the meantime take a step out and open this great and powerful book. See if you can feel the breath of God emerging from its pages!
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