I recorded the Super Bowl last night. I had a cunning plan. The thinking was that I would be able to watch it and fast forward through all of the ad breaks and delays: bringing the length of the game back down to one hour.
Of course the problem was that then I needed to ensure I did not see the result of the game in order to be able to watch it “as live”. I did pretty well. Then I woke up. Suddenly I found the result was everywhere and unless I had some form of media blackout (no radio, TV, Internet) it would have been impossible not to have found that the result. It was about as pointless as the Saturday evening TV news broadcasts are when they tell you to “look away now if you don’t want to know the results” and then proceed to speak out loud about the day’s football matches. (Do they think that by looking away we will not be able to hear them?)
So I have given in. I have accepted that I know the result… I may still watch the programme, however, because it sounds like it was quite an exciting match.
the thought occurred to me that sometimes we trying to treat the Bible like it was a recording of the Super Bowl. We skip over or fast forward beyond the bits that we find difficult or uncomfortable or would rather weren’t there at all. Unlike screening out the adverts and extraneous fluff from the Super Bowl, if we do that to the Bible we miss some incredible insights and this can also lead to failing to understand the bits we do want to read because we have lost some of the context or content.
This is one of the reasons why I really enjoy preaching through a book of the Bible. It forces us to look at and confront some difficult issues and questions. It makes us ask the questions like, “is God really like that?” or, “what did that mean when it was written down first?” which will help us to understand what God might be saying to us today.
So rather than picking and choosing bits from the Bible can I encourage you to take passages as a whole, not neglecting what has been said before and what will come afterwards. And if it sounds dodgy, difficult or dangerous then we need to do some work, wrestle, wrangle – while recognising that we can never fully understand the mind of God.
Be blessed, be a blessing.
Reasons why students should not be allowed to write the Bible – it might turn out something like this:
Instead of God creating the world in six days and resting on the seventh, He would have put it off until the night before it was due and then pulled an all-nighter.
The Last Supper would have been eaten the next morning–cold.
The Ten Commandments would actually be only five–double-spaced and written in a large font.
A new edition would be published every two years in order to limit reselling.
Forbidden fruit would have been eaten because it wasn’t cafeteria food.
Paul’s letter to the Romans would become Paul’s email to email@example.com.
Reason Cain killed Abel: they were roommates.
Reason why Moses and followers walked in the desert for 40 years: they didn’t want to ask directions and look like first years.