GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours
What is important, the essence or the core flash like lightbulbs in my brain when I hear the well-worn statement: “Let’s get to the heart of the matter.” In my culture, there is little doubt what the expression means.
It points me toward the target’s bull’s-eye.
At the heart of this series of posts lies the question: “Is it possible for us diverse ones to come away with an identical core message drawn from our Bible”?
Is it possible to agree upon the heart of Holy Scripture?
As I recall major influences that formed who I know as me, it should be obvious that diverse stimuli from countless sources over a lifetime shape my nature in ways that are good and not so good.
My observation is that since each one of us are unique people I am formed like no other.
It should be no surprise that you and I have an identical challenge to interpret life through the prism of our own diversity.
Another way to get at the heart of the matter is the question that hoovers around the way we read the sixty-six books and letters of our Bible. “If we both read Scripture differently due to our own unique background and context, is there a place in our Bibles where we can reach mutual understanding”?
I believe my Bible contains a message so grand it explodes from the text like a fireworks display.
When I read of such fantastic grace my response is either humble awe or stubborn disbelief.
Let’s pretend for a moment that I am an artist.
To paint a portrait of my Bible I would use mountains separated by the deepest, darkest canyon.
The Holy Bible opens its first page on the mountain top of the historical high of all history, “In the beginning God”.
It takes only a few pages into Scripture for humankind to start a tragic and depressing descent into the dark canyon of wickedness.
God’s treasured creation made in His Own Holy image is sin stained and set on a course of condemnation.
The departure away from the Holy is so complete that even God could only look on with a broken heart as He stood in disappointed amazement.
That is the dark story told throughout the Old Testament of our Bible.
As the New Testament opens not a living soul on planet earth could see a solution to the darkness.
On its first pages, a miracle of hope is born in the poorest of circumstances and laid in a bed of feed straw for warmth and comfort. The God-human baby Jesus started the ascent carrying us from the valley floor with miracles, teaching, touch and care.
Little by little Jesus’ disciples crawl and follow their new discovery up the steep dark canyon walls to revealed the face of God.
It took the cross, the resurrection, the ascension and the final comprehension of God’s gracious gift of salvation through Jesus as the sacrificial lamb for sunny meadows to appear.
As the gift appears Jesus gives his grand invitation to his eleven disciples to invite the world to join in the march:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We read the story of the infant church learning to understand and to live into that commission throughout the remainder of the New Testament.
The New Testament ends at the crest of the second perfect mountain with Jesus painting the verbal picture of creature and creation restored to perfection as it was in “In the beginning God”.
His promise is, “I am making everything new”.
No more death. No more suffering. No more tears of hurt and sorrow. Only perfection. A place where God is all light. We will live by the water of life and the tree of life in the presence of Father, Son and Spirit.
“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life”.
Can’t we all share the heart of our Holy Bible AND commit to growth in Jesus?
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: Can We All Share the Heart of Our Bible?