At our Sunday school class a few Sundays ago a question came up: How many Bibles do you have? One person said 5. Another person answered 10—counting all of the ones they have inherited from family members. I confessed that I have about 20. Different translations, different languages. I have a Hebrew Bible, a Greek Bible, and a Bible in Spanish.
Our teacher then explained that he grew up in a church where the people in the pews didn’t study the Bible. He didn’t open a Bible at church—and he certainly didn’t open one at home. Until everything changed. One day he was asked to be a volunteer with the youth group. Suddenly he wanted to know more. Suddenly he NEEDED to know more. To teach them—and to be growing in faith himself.
I wonder how many of us have Bibles that sit around, unused. There can be lots of reasons. We’re very busy people. But that’s not the only reason. There was a time when my mom was afraid to go to a Bible study. She didn’t want people to find out how little she knew! Let’s be honest. The Bible, in many ways, is a strange book. It comes to us from a very different culture, a very different time in history.
I love the story in Acts about Philip and the Ethiopian he meets on the road. The stranger is reading the prophet Isaiah, and Philip asks him, “Do you understand what you are reading? The Ethiopian answers, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” That’s a good answer—for all of us.
I don’t know if you will make a New Year’s resolution, but I want to propose one for us. Let’s take our Bible off of the shelf. Let’s come with our questions, and frankly, with our ignorance. Let’s grow together in our understanding, letting our faith community and the Holy Spirit guide us.
We’re offering a new class called “Animate Bible.” “Animate,” of course, means “bring to life.” There are lots of options. You can come on Sundays at 9 or 11:30 am. Or you can come on Wednesdays at 7:30 pm. Starting on Sunday January 10 (or Wed. the 13th) we’ll have a 5 week series that looks at questions we all have about the Bible. It’ll be a safe place to learn. And to be honest, it’ll be fun, too. Each session begins with a video presentation by great teachers/preachers from around the country.
And hey, if you don’t have a Bible, I’d be glad to get one for you…
A HAPPY AND HEALTHY AND BLESSED NEW YEAR TO YOU!