Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Have You Ever Read the Bible?

Most of us have formed SOME kind of opinion about the Bible: THE Word of God, or "just a collection of stories," or "written by people".

But beyond that I wonder: Have you ever READ it? I don't mean cracked a Bible and randomly read a sentence or two and then put it away.

I mean REALLY read it.

If not, I invite you on a journey. Begin to read it. Throughout the year I'll be leaving bread crumbs on my journey, little pieces of where I'm reading.

Now I know that New Year's Resolutions are a dirty word to many of us skeptics. A recent survey by John C. Norcross from Univ. of Scranton in PA found that by Feb. 1, about 1/3 of those who set resolutions had failed.

But wouldn't it be great to reach the end of the year and arrive at the summit of this task together?

Here are a couple of suggestions that might be helpful:

- If you're new to the Bible, get an easy-to-read-translation, something that's been written AFTER 1960. Maybe even a paraphrase for your first reading. (A translation attempts word for word communication, while a paraphrase puts it into the words of the author, trying to explain how they see this going along.)

- Don't get discouraged if you get bogged down or lose interest. That's why we're doing the Buddy System. I'll keep leaving those bread crumbs throughout the year, and maybe we'll separate at places on the trail, only to hook-up again at other places. Maybe you'll skip a day or two, occasionally. That's ok. If you slack off a little, allow yourself to jump back in as the rhythym of your life finds interest in a new book. We won't beat you up at all.

- Consider alternative forms of "reading". Maybe hearing it on cd is good for you. I have a friend who types parts of the Bible as she finds the activity helps to stimulate the brain and comprehension. One of my kids has started doing the same thing.

- Learn to live with questions. Sometimes reading the Bible will raise more Q's than answers. That's ok. Would you really want to hear from a God who could be figured out by you or me in ONE READING?!

- Finally, and this is key, whisper a little prayer before beginning. Ask for God to give you a return on your investment of time and energy. Say something like, "I'm not sure how this is going to work out, but I ask you to meet me on the journey" or "Would you show up along the way and every once in awhile surprise me with your Presence?"

You'll be amazed how such a commitment and request on your part will result in God's Spirit responding.

This week I'll be in Genesis. "In the beginning God created..."

What does God want to create in you and your reading?

Several times in chapter 1 we notice God reflects upon His creation: "God saw that it was good."

May God be creating good in your life.

Grace & peace.

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