Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen. The fearful heart will know and understand,and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear. Isaiah 32:3-4
When I started going to church regularly about 20 years ago, I thought for sure I was the least knowledgeable christian in the sanctuary. I knew, for certain, that all the hundreds of other church members in attendance certainly knew the Bible inside and out and they had zero questions about what the pastor was saying. That also meant that there was no way I was going to share my faith with anyone. I wasn’t even sure what my faith really was all about. And people might ask me questions.
This fearful possibility reminds me of that show “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire.” When a contestant was unsure or downright stymied by a question, they could use a lifeline. My favorite was to “Call A Friend.” I always wondered what my reaction would be if I was the friend that got called. I mean, you could be asked any random question and your friend’s chance at a million dollars could be on the line!
If only there were an encyclopedia-type book that was like that lifeline and it gave us answers about God. You know, a book that would help us gain wisdom about God’s character and His promises. A sort of history of how God has worked throughout the ages. If there were such a book then I bet all christians would memorize it from end to end. Their eyes would be opened to the majesty of God’s authority. Their hearts would know how He wants the best for us and we would stop being fearful. We would gain wisdom to be able to fluently and clearly share the Good News about salvation and eternity. And, of course, we know such a helpful book exists – the Bible.
I have a christian friend who believes the Bible is just “some book written by men.” And yet we could say the same about our very own selves. We are in fact created by a man and a woman coming together and creating us. But that doesn’t negate God’s Holy hand in our creation. To dismiss the Bible as having been divinely commissioned is truly to dismiss God’s hand in all of creation. And yes, we can nitpick over the specifics of a word – be it the Greek translation or the Hebrew – but even when we do that we are led to even greater understanding of the Almighty. He promises that if we take the time to get to know Him, he will bless us tenfold. Ah, there’s that covenant, that agreement.
I spent the first 15 years of my christian life barely cracking open this amazing lifeline to the promises and wisdom of God. It started when the church I was attending began encouraging us to pick up the pew Bible and start taking notes in it. Oh, the heresy! It’s funny now to think how uncomfortable so many people felt taking this action.
This year, my BSGs have made it a point to select Bible studies which require us to do just that — actually study the Bible. We’ve done studies which focused on one chapter in one book (Proverb 31). We’ve studied 1 & 2 Kings and discovered how much of the land around Jerusalem is still the same today. And we’ve spent time in studies which take us on a broad spectrum of verses about what God wants from us as believers. We’ve gnawed and chewed and scribbled in and soaked up our Bibles like never before. We’ve grabbed a hold of our chance at a priceless prize – the knowledge of God and His unfailing love for us.
The Bible is an amazing, almost magical creation. It seems to change each time I read it. I believe when we grasp a Bible lesson, God, like the game show host, brings us up a notch and presents us with more chances to gain wisdom. We get deeper as we learn not just about the basic words but how the people of that time lived, how the politics of the time were playing out, and the values they held dear. We get insight when we see the more than 4,000 connections between the Old and New Testaments.
The people of the Bible were at a disadvantage. We get to see the beginning, middle and end of the entire story. But so often when the possibility of sharing His Word arises, we look like that contestant who’s been asked about nuclear physics.
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7
Today is later. That book on the shelf is God’s promise of wisdom for us. One of the other lifelines on “Who Wants to be A Millionaire” is called “ask the expert.” And while it’s good to have christian friends that can be a resource isn’t it nice to know we have an expert waiting to speak to us day and night through His Holy Word? That sounds like a winning strategy to me.