Opening the Bible (January 14, 2013)

…Opening To…

When you read God’s Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, “It is talking to me, and about me.” (Søren Kierkegaard)

…Listening In…

After he took his seat at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts on fire when he spoke to us along the road and when he explained the scriptures for us?” (Luke 24:30-32; context)

…Filling Up…

The texts of the Bible have guided people for thousands of years. Before the earliest pieces of the Hebrew Scriptures (what many Christians call the “Old Testament”) were written down, the oral tradition guided people in their walks with God. Then the Hebrew Scriptures were compiled in written form and became the guiding documents for the faith of Israel. Those documents were the Bible for the folks who wrote the second part of the Christian Bible, what is commonly called the “New Testament.” The combined texts have come down through the centuries to us because people from the first telling of the story to today have known that it was important enough to save.

The Bible has been translated into hundreds of languages. It has easily outsold any other book on the planet. And yet, most people – even many who go to church every Sunday – don’t know much about it. Indeed, before I went to seminary, I had read perhaps thirty percent of it. Even with three years of seminary under my belt, I’ve never finished the entire thing (though I’m working on it right now). Even though the Bible is the most popular book of all time, the pages inside many of them have never been turned. The words have never been read. And because we haven’t turned those pages and read those words, we have missed out on encounters with the God who encountered all the people who filled those pages and wrote those words.

And so for the rest of this week, we are going to talk about a few things you might not know about the Bible. We’ll start tomorrow when we discuss the fact that the Bible isn’t really a book at all.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you write the pages of my life even as I read the pages of those whose lives you wrote in the past. Help me to use their knowledge and love of you to develop my own. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, hoping for an encounter with you as I read about your presence in the lives of your people.

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