This morning’s USA TODAY featured an article noting that 19% of Americans are “skeptical” about reading the Bible, particularly those aged 18-29. This is fascinating as we are now in the midst of Holy Week, and I note at least three prominent movies about the Bible now in theaters.
I’ll admit that people may have good reason to question/examine/look skeptical at parts of the Bible, but the whole Book? Or more to the point, I’m wondering for the many who consider themselves/ourselves “spiritual” rather than “religious,” how could we create a bit of curiosity in cracking this book (of books) and at least give it a fair exam before we “skeptically” toss it along with our outdated laptop.
Recently, I’ve found myself asking, “How do I view the Bible?”
At times, I see the Bible as a map. To use a map you need to know two things: where you ARE, and where you think you would like to go, arrive or explore. A map gives you the overall view, but in that view are variations in routes or directions, so you have both freedom and direction.
Others of us, current techies excepted, may want the Bible to be more of a GPS system. With GPS, assuming it IS reliable toward your destination (uh, you might want to grab a map first), you need to know where you are, where you are going, and then you get turn-by-turn (some would say “detailed”) instructions on EXACTLY how to get there.
In driving my vehicle, I will admit to favoring GPS now with [add-on] 5 inch screens in both of our vehicles. I don’t want to wind up staring at a vacant field when I am supposed to be visiting someone in a hospital (but it has happened).
In exploring life’s direction, I’m a bit more partial to a map….but I would also welcome a nearby Guide when I do get lost. I love to look at maps, explore different route choices, sometimes choose the speedier, easier interstate highways, but other times I love the backroads and “scenic routes.”
So, how do you read the Bible? If you are occasionally disappointed that in some settings the Bible is not God’s detailed GPS with exact directions in a life situation, but seems more of a grace-directed map, enjoy the journey and realize that God has given you a lot of freedom to explore and investigate!
If, however you find you are tired of “Bible people” who keep trying to turn Holy Writ into a detailed GPS, and you see more of an overall map [like on what “a Christian marriage” means], enjoy the map, the route choices and watch for your personalized traveling discernment to grow.
So, which ARE you? Maphead or GPS screener? I go back and forth, honestly. Does this change occasionally because of the season you are in?
Is God handing you a map for now or a GPS? Have you begun the journey He now has for you?