Wake up to the Bible
There’s one in just about every home - on a shelf behind the TV, or up in Grannie’s room. It’s normally only got out when a crossword clue needs to be solved, or someone’s got a question wrong on ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ It may be the world’s best-selling book, but if it is, it’s the world’s least read best-seller. Even regular churchgoers tend to keep it for Sundays, not for the rough and tumble of everyday life.
And that’s a pity, because for Christians the Bible is the primary key to understanding ourselves, the world we live in, and our Creator. It is the story of our search for God, and his search for us. Slowly, painfully, and with dawning clarity the picture emerges. First one tribe, then a nation, record in its pages their experience of God. They don’t always get it right, but it’s an honest search and God rewards it. Because, while people were searching for God, he was searching for them. That’s the Bible’s story, which reaches its amazing climax in the coming of Jesus, the Son of God. As John’s Gospel puts it, 'No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known' (1:18).
See the Bible like that and many of the problems people raise about it are answered. Yes, there’s a lot of violence and bloodshed. There are some fairly crazy ideas at times about what men and women thought God wanted them to do. But there is also the thrill of the search and the wonder of discovery - above all, the amazing idea that the One who made us, loves us.
Perhaps the time has come to rescue that copy of the Bible from the bookshelf and take it seriously enough to read it. There are many helps for those who want to start reading the Bible regularly, including daily readings and notes. But the main thing is the intention. Many people will say that they’d like to find out what’s in the Bible 'one day'. Well, if it is what it claims to be - the key to the search for truth - then it would be a tragedy to have it in our homes and not even bother to find out what it says.
Perhaps 'one day' is now?
This article first appeared in The Parish Pump in February 2009.