The Bible is full of some great stories. The Bible is also full of some odd stories. There’s a familiar one about Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding (John 2). It’s a surprising twist for many evangelical Christians who aren’t quite sure what to do with a Jesus who likes a party. There’s also a story in the Old Testament book of Ezra about the people of Israel being forced to get divorces from their wives (Ezra 10). I thought God wasn’t for divorce and stuff like that.
The Bible is full of fascinating stories like these that make us scratch our collective heads. I’m a pastor and have spent a good chunk of my life reading and studying the Book and there are parts that I have a hard time with. I’m sure Jesus actually turned that water into root beer or something more appropriate.
There seems to be a lot of animosity toward the Bible in our culture. There are many who hate the Bible calling it an outdated, sexist, and immoral Book that causes nothing but division and oppression. They say that it’s full of contradictions, ridiculous fantasies, and impossible miracles. It is interesting that the Bible gets so much contempt. If it really is a silly Book without any consequence, then who cares? Leave it alone. It seems to me that a Book that can cause such a commotion, might be that way because what it says does have consequence. We don’t get upset about Mother Goose’s stories. Many may say, “I’ve never seen someone walk on water or turn it into wine, therefore, it can’t be true.” While there are certainly supernatural events in the Bible, that still doesn’t prove it’s not historically accurate.
The Bible is actually full of some wonderful stories. For example, in Luke 7 Jesus sees a funeral service for the dead child of a widow. Jesus approaches the mother and says, “Don’t cry.” Then Jesus goes over to the child, tells him to get up, and the child wakes up and begins to talk. Can you imagine this mother’s joy? The Bible says that the people who were there were filled with awe and they realized that God has come to help people (Luke 7:11-17). Hmm, now what about that story is so infuriating? Does Jesus sound like someone that makes you mad? In the Bible, the people who get upset with Him are the religious people. We could point to many stories of Jesus healing the lame, giving sight to the blind, curing the deaf, and raising the dead. This actually sounds like someone I might like to get to know. He also had some incredible teachings like love your enemies, give to the poor, and we see again and again His general distaste for those who put religion in place of caring for people.
So you may think, “Well, I really like Jesus, but the rest of the Bible can be thrown out.” Unfortunately, we don’t have this option. Jesus Himself made it clear that the entire Bible is important because it all points to Him (John 5:39-40). Everything from Genesis to Revelation is all given for the purpose of getting its readers to find Jesus, who is described as God come to Earth. This has been the position of the Church for 2000 years. So, in other words, it’s all or nothing. Either you appreciate the whole Bible, or you throw out the whole Bible. There’s no in-between here.
I have found that the Bible is worth your investment of time. Not only does it have great stories about our God who walked on Earth, but it has other fascinating stories like the creation of the world, massive plagues of frogs and flies, and the miraculous parting of the sea that allowed for people to walk on dry land. There are two different stories about a rock being smashed so that water gushes out, and there are several evil kings who meet their deaths in unpleasant manners. The New Testament has stories about Jesus pulling a coin out of a fish’s mouth, the Apostle Paul getting bit by a poisonous snake after surviving a shipwreck, and some pretty cool accounts of cosmic battles between angels and dragons. It’s also where we find important principles that help society function like: treat others as you want to be treated, do not steal, be a hard worker, obey those in authority over you, and do not take revenge.
So, what I’m saying is give the Bible a whirl. Maybe you do regularly read the Bible. Great! If not, start with the Gospel of Matthew and see what you think. If you don’t have one at home, you can find it online or maybe you want to purchase a new copy. If you start reading and you find yourself confused, then find a good church with a pastor that can help make sense of it. It has some confusing parts, but that shouldn’t stop us from engaging with it and finding answers. The Bible is God’s Word and, therefore, has immense power. It is written for our edification, our encouragement, and our enjoyment. Now, on to Exodus 8 to read about the plague of frogs.