Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Reading The Bible - Part 1

I love reading good books. My current favorite is the gospel of John. I have been reading through it over the last month, just taking it at face value. I am trying to discern what it says about my life and seek to read it as if I was reading it for the first time.

It just so happens that during this reading of John I also began reading The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne. Shane, is a part of a group of people who are trying,as they say, "to love God. Love People. Follow Jesus." They call their community of faith The Simple Way.

At one point in the book he quotes the words of Danish Philospher Soren Kierkegaard. Speaking about reading the Bible will do to a person he says:

"The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly.My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Scholarship is the Church's invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament."

I don't agree exactly with the statements about the place of Christian Scholarship, because I think it has more of a role than stated above. However, I really resonate with what he says about reading the Bible. I wonder what would happen if we were to start reading the Bible like it was the latest New York Times Best-Seller if we might read something we had never read before? I wonder if it would speak to us with a fresh perspective about how we should live as we pursue Jesus?

For me, there are several texts that concern me. Several times John makes a comment about disciples turning away and not following Jesus because is teaching was hard. And this causes me to it hard for us?

Personally, following Jesus has never been that difficult for me. Raised in a great home, attended a Christian University, I've had positive friendships, have a spouse who is passionately trying to follow Jesus with me. I've never been persecuted or condemned because of what I believe.

It seems so true to me that too often we make Scripture say what we want it to say. For example, Jesus didn't REALLY mean that the Rich Young Ruler had to go and sell all his stuff did he? But he loved God!! This is just one example.

My life is officially ruined because of Jesus. I embrace this you understand, I just don't know what to do with it yet. I think Jesus calls those who follow him to be different from the world. This means that God's authority speaks more loudly than any other. "Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament." Dreadfully beautiful, that is.
May reading the Bible cause us to reorient our lives around God's words to us.

1 comment:

Emma & Addison said...

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