The bible. A complex book written long before you were born, with language you can’t even speak. It’s since been translated into your language, but still, it’s very difficult for you to understand the meaning behind the whole thing. You shouldn’t feel worried about that though. Of course you’re going to struggle to understand it. Well-educated, fully-grown, fully-competent adults fight, bicker, and argue over its meaning. So yes, it’s going to be tough to comprehend. In fact, the bible even SAYS it’s difficult to understand the meaning of the bible.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8
It’s easy to feel like I don’t get it. Maybe that’s because others have made you feel like you’re reading (or interpreting) it wrong. Who are they to tell you that? Did they write it? Sure, there is need for caution in our interpretation. Some even “get it” more than others. God certainly has specific things to say through it. So then, be careful what you say about it to others. The bible talks about being careful too.
“It’s better to meet a mother bear who has lost her cubs than a fool in his stupidity.” Proverbs 17:12 (ISV)
The question then is not whether you’re interpreting it right or not, but whether you’re just simply reading it or not.
The truth is, if you really want to understand it, for you – not what others think it means, but for you – it’ll take a lot of reading and praying. Because the bible says that “God’s spirit” will help you to understand it.
“Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.” 1 Thes 5:20-22 (MSG)
This means: Don’t hide or ignore God’s Spirit. Don’t ignore words from people in your life who want to help you grow in your faith. If you want to know whether the bible is real or not, you have to read it. Otherwise, how can you know the bible is true?
Here’s the thing about truth: it proves itself. Have you ever tried to make yourself look like you could do something you couldn’t? What happened when others found out? It was probably embarrassing. Why would the bible be any different? The truth in it will be proved through daily living.
We want you to read the bible. Your bible. Get it off the shelf. Dust it off. Open it up and read it. If you don’t have one, we’ll buy you one. Read it. A lot.
This year at Nine35 we want that to be the goal. We want to help you just read it so you can begin to discover the meaning behind it all. We’re going to walk through the whole bible and hopefully help you connect the stories into the bigger picture of the what the bible is saying.
For example, what does the story of Adam and Eve have to do with trusting God? How does Noah and the ark prove that God is reliable? How does the story of Joseph trusting God prove that God is good? How does the story of the Israelites (God’s chosen people) roaming through the desert prove that God doesn’t give up on us? Or what about Solomon, this man who was wise beyond all others. How does his story show that we need to stop collecting stuff (toys, happiness, pleasure) and instead make God our priority? Did you know that there were these people called prophets who predicted (with complete accuracy) the coming of the Messiah, hundreds of years before it happened? How does this help us look for God’s kingdom right here and now? …etc.
Basically, every section of the bible will point to a bigger theme, and all those themes will connect together so by the end of the year you’ll be able to identify some of the big picture truths in the bible. Not just the stories, but the deeper meaning behind the stories too. I’ll give you a hint: it all points to Jesus.
So, what about your bible? Do you have one? Do you need one? I want to make this fun. Every week if you bring your bible we’re going to do a little contest. You’ll be entered in a drawing to win a free shake on Tuesday nights at Renew.