What Does the Bible Have to Do with My Life?

What Does the Bible Have to Do with My Life?

The Bible contains 66 books written by 40 authors over 1,500 years on three continents over more than a dozen different genres. And yet they all tell the same story of the same God. The Bible is a theological book that shares true history, but even when it is telling true historic facts, it doesn’t do so like a 21st century western history text book. It does so like an ancient Middle Eastern theological story.

One of my least favorite reading experiences was reading Beowulf in high school English. Were you subjected to this torture? Beowulf was written sometime between the 8th and 10th century and uses an early form of Old English called West Saxon.[i] Maybe if I re-read Beowulf I would love it, but at the time it felt like it was just one of those books we were reading because of its historic significance. Getting through the language was just brutal. I could barely piece together what a sentence meant, much less a paragraph, and understanding the plot felt virtually impossible. On top of that, this bizarre story of a monster in a faraway land felt profoundly irrelevant to my life.[ii]

Maybe you feel like that about the Bible. I get it. The Bible was written 2,000+ years ago. It seems borderline ridiculous that Christians pick it up and it expect it say something valuable to them about life in a completely different world.

Isn’t the Bible out of date?

The final challenge that is made against the Bible is that it is out of date. The Bible has old-fashioned morality about gender and sexuality. How can we trust a book that is so backwards.

Let me offer two very brief responses to this: first, the Bible is likely much less backward than you might think. In fact, all over the place the Bible breaks cultural expectations regarding gender, socio-economic class, and race.

Second, in those places where the Bible appears to be “on the wrong side of history,” I would ask you first to engage the central question of whether or not the Bible is God’s Word. If it isn’t, then of course the Bible is a skeleton, an artifact, when it comes to morality. But if it does happen to be God’s Word, I would ask you where your objective measure of morality derives from? And how can you be guaranteed that your own morality won’t look extremely dated in mere years? And I would add that if the Bible is indeed God’s Word, wouldn’t you expect that God would disagree with us at points? If we found in the Bible everything we already believed, would it be God’s Word or our word?

Are you willing to read the Bible not to tear it down but to enter in? Would you be willing to taste and see Jesus through the eyes of his followers? It only takes the average reader between an hour and a half to two and a half hours to read each of the four gospels. Pick up Mark or Luke or Matthew or John and encounter the man who calls himself the Son of God and see if you think it is a fable or if it rings of truth.[iii]

MIT professor and atheist Rosalind Picard thought that Bible was “full off fantastical crazy stuff.” But, for the sake of intellectual honesty she felt like she needed to actually read it. And so she did. And when she started to read the Bible, she says, “it started to change me.”[iv] She’s a follower of Jesus now.[v]

I could describe to you what a dark chocolate gelato tastes like from Frost: the rich cocoa flavor with a hint of bitterness, the cold buttery smoothness as it coats your tongue.

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