I’m a little ashamed to say I watched the “reality”show Wife Swap on ABC the other night. (Would I sound more “manly” if I said I watched it while I was working out?) If you haven’t seen it, the plot is “swap” two wives and mothers from very different families and conflict and hilarity ensues… What caught my attention on this particular episode is that they swapped a self professed “evangelical christian” into a household of self proclaimed “atheists”. Although there were many “cringe worthy” moments the worst for me was when the Christian mother “took charge” of the atheist household. Her first “move” was to give the entire family Bibles and insist they read and study them. When the father protested she demanded he read it “so he could get saved”! I found myself agreeing with the atheist.
I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. I believe that the time I spend each day reading the scriptures both as a family and personally is time well spent. I do not however, believe in magic! I do not believe that the Bible is a book of “magical incantations” or a magical book that “has the answer to every question” like some ancient magic eight ball.
I meet “magic book believing” Christians all the time. They say things like “if everyone would just read the word, there wouldn’t be all the sinnin‘ going on…” Really? More people per capita read the Bible in prison than on the “outside” and I hear it’s lovely there…especially this time of year. They are led by “magic book believing” preachers who say things like “the only important thing is that you teach the Word”. No need for preparation, original thought, illustration…you know, those “gimmicks” that Jesus used when he taught. No need to use the “tactics” of Paul who in Acts 17 taught the scripture believing Jews from the scriptures, and taught the local “pagans” using nature and their poets as examples. (link)
What would happen if we stopped reading and studying the scriptures like high school students cramming for an exam? (I’m pretty sure there is no written exam for heaven.) What if we began reading God’s word so we could find out more about the our Creator…and how to please him? What if we began to integrate the Bible into our thinking…and put it into practice in our actions! What if instead of trying to get the “uninterested” to read the Bible, we lived out the good news in front of them? (Remember, the church in Acts was studying the Old Testament… and being the New Testament.) What if instead of being proud of our “Knowledge of the Good Book” we were humbled by how few of our neighbors had experienced the Good News? What if though our study we actually began to act more like Jesus? Wow, this is starting to sound like a lot of work…maybe it would just be easier to believe that a “magic book” will somehow change the world.