The Bible Tells Me So

Dec 15, 2005Find joy today

I’ve been ruminating a bit about the Bible. For years, I’ve read it, mined it, studied it like a math book, memorized it, contemplated it, made lists from it, and shared it with others. I’ve dissected bits and pieces out of it. But seldom have I thought about it as a whole–as an amazing, surprising, sometimes tragic, melancholy, joyful, enigmatic story about God and how He intersects humankind.

Could it be that all my piecemeal thinking has ebbed the life from its sacred pages? That in thinking the Bible is just about tenets to better living, I’ve severed its most important themes?

I’m readying myself to write another parenting book–this time about how parents can raise healthy children in a postmodern/emergent society. In my study, I came across some wonderful words by Ivy Beckwith:

“[The Bible] is not simply a fact-filled textbook to be studied and from which to glean bulleted tips for a better sex life or for dealing with difficult people or even for ways to live a moral, antiseptic life. When we use the Bible with children simply to teach doctrinal tenets, moral absolutes, tips for better living, or stories of heroes to be emulated, we stunt the spiritual formation of our children and deprive them of the valuable, spiritual story of God.”
(Beckwith, Ivy: Postmodern Children’s Ministry: Ministry to Children in the 21st Century. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, p. 126).

This new year, along with laughing more, I want to read the Bible not merely for bullet points, but for a better grasp of the story of God, for the mystery, for the tidbits of His character I miss when I trivialize His words into spiritual to-be lists.