Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Word of God

I am a big fan of the Bible. The Bible is full of awesome history. It has fantastic views into the Ancient Near East and the growing relationship between God and His people. It has wonderful poetry and songs. It tells the story of Jesus and the early church. It has guidelines for living a Christian life. It is a transformational book.

The Bible has been translated into more languages than I even know exist and has given hope where situations seem hopeless.

Unfortunately, some people idolize the Bible. I was reminded of this when a parent told me that her daughter asked mom's permission to highlight passages in her Bible (the mom, thankfully, told her daughter to go for it). The problem is that only half the message has gotten through - that the Word of God is somehow sacred is well understood, but that the Bible itself, the book, can be written in, well, that somehow got missed.

In some churches, the tradition is to "stand for the reading of the Word of God." Though this is a well-meant gesture to show respect to God, and we of Wesleyan theology give primacy to the Word (over tradition, experience, and reason), but I believe we can more appropriately show respect to the Word by reading it ourselves and obeying it rather than simply standing while someone else reads it.

They've said that a Bible that's falling apart is owned by someone who isn't. So make your Bible yours.

An aside - last week I was returning from a Bible study and the kids across the street asked me what I had (I also had Communion elements I was taking to shut-ins). When I showed them what it was, one of the kids was really impressed by the Bible. Through our conversation, I found that he didn't have one of his own, so I gave him mine. So now my favorite Bible, the New Living Translation that I got while I was at Asbury, belongs to the neighbor. The coolest thing: when I gave it to him, he gathered the other kids together, saying, "Who wants to read some Bible stories?"

1 comment:

Big Mama said...

Oh My! Brought tears to my eyes-the part about the kid next door-Thank you! I have been thinking the last couple of days as I read my Bible, The Message this time around, that I need to give it to a depressed kid who just graduated but I haven't seen him and have put it off: you just inspired me to call him and take it to him!