Opening the Bible

 27 February 2021 |

Picking a book off a shelf in my study I came across a wonderful quote about the Bible and its ability to “speak in every language in every age”. The book is about the nature of the Bible and challenges us about the need to let the Bible speak. That’s quite an odd metaphor because for most people the Bible is a mystery, hidden behind mostly black covers, full of ancient stories of a time long ago. Considering the popularity of stories like Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, I am surprised the Bible isn’t read much. There was a time when most households owned a copy and some perhaps even read it; but it is infamous for the fact that it has been the most bought but least read of books.

If I was a betting man, I would guess the reason no one reads it is firstly it is a big book and even the best translations are full of complicated words and ideas; it may also be because people in the past, and perhaps today, have used it to bash others over the head with it, for the “wisdom” it contains and the morals it promotes.

I have been reading and studying the Bible for over fifty years and am often still surprised and excited by it, not because it teaches me my way of life is wrong (although it certainly questions the choices I have made), but more because it talks about people as very human people, misguided and sometimes morally inappropriate, with their foibles, wilful ignorance and mistakes. For example, in one of the books about Jesus, called the Gospel according to Mark, the disciples are shown to be a bit dense who constantly get Jesus wrong! To me, it is such a relief that even the people who knew Jesus and followed him through his ministry, got him wrong – not just once but nearly all the time. They made mistakes, betrayed their Master and abandoned him – and yet, still Jesus loved them!

To such as these broken disciples, Jesus gave his message of love. It has been handed on through the ages by similar disciples and today, it cries out to be heard in every language and in every age.  Isn’t that something to be shouted from the roof tops?