In preparation for this Sunday’s sermon entitled: “Limited Inerrancy VS Full Inerrancy: A Sermonic Defense of #SolaScriptura”, I found myself in Psalm 119. This rich section of Scripture is literally a psalm of praise, highlighting the preciousness and power of God’s Holy Word. As I was in Psalm 119, I read these poetic words: “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law…This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life…The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver…I have seen the consummation of all perfection, but Your commandment is exceedingly broad…How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Wondrous. Comforting. Life Giving. Better Than Money. Total Perfection. Sweet…Sweeter Than Honey! It was if these words jumped off the pages of Scripture and dazzled my senses. And for a brief moment, I wasn’t doing sermon prep anymore, I was worshipping! Yes, I came once again to this one mega-reality: God wrote a book! A wondrous book. A perfect book. A book filled with life and light!
But my moment of worship and joy for the Word and the God of the Word, quickly turned to concern – pastoral concern. That is to say, I’ve seen “the look”, from people in the pew, when the Bible is being read or recited. A look of apathy, disinterest, and downright boredom. I’ve seen this same look from people in the counseling chamber. It’s almost as if they begin to shut down and disengage as soon as the Bible is being opened. I’ve heard comments from our young people: “The Bible is hard to understand…I don’t get it…It’s boring.” How can the Psalmist of Psalm 119 say: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path…Revive me [Enliven me…Bring me from the Chamber of Death], O LORD, according to Your word…”, but we find the Bible difficult to understand at best and downright boring at worst?!
Well, in this week’s blog post, let me do my best to not only address the problem of boredom, but give viable solutions as well. Why does the Bible bore you? Four thoughts:
- You read with the wrong focus. That is to say, the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to you. In other words, the whole Bible was written for us, some of the Bible directly written to us, but the Bible is not primarily about us. Huh?! Yeah, let me make it more personal: The Bible is not primarily about you. The Bible is primarily about all-mighty, all-glorious, Creator God! Many of you are reading the Bible with the wrong focus. You approach the Bible with this as your mentality: “What can I get out of this reading today that I can apply to MY life.” Not necessarily a bad question, but if this is your only question when you crack open your Bible, you will find many passages to be, well, boring. For instance, the book of Leviticus…If your only questions, as you approach Leviticus, revolves around you and your life then you will miss the full beauty of the passages in Leviticus. You see, this book is highlighting a majestic, holy God that is a God of decency, cleanliness, and order. Don’t miss the wealth of God’s Word by only focusing on yourself! God’s Word isn’t simply a mirror, showcasing yourself, it’s a lamp, showcasing an amazing, life-giving God! Look for HIM when you open your Bible. Ask yourself better questions, like: “How does God reveal Himself in this passage?” Then worship Him for who He is.
- You read with unconfessed sin. Yeah, I know, not a fun topic. And many of you will probably just want to skip this point and move on to something more enlightening. Go ahead…OK, for the brave few souls that decided to actually read this point, let me be brief, but clear: Your unconfessed sin disturbs your ability to see and savor the God who has revealed Himself to you in His Holy Word. Thus, it’s always a good idea to start any devotional reading of God’s Word with a simple prayer of confession and help. Confess your sins of pride, or anger, or gossip, or worry, etc. And then ask God to open your eyes so that you may see wondrous truths from His perfect book. The Bible will seem so dead and boring, if you approach it with unconfessed sin in your life.
- You read too fast. Some of us know the drill: “Read your Bible. Pray every day. And you’ll grow, grow, grow.” So, that’s what we do…legalistically of course…just getting through it as fast as possible and then we check it off our to-do list and move on to other tasks. We read our Bibles too fast! You know, one of the greatest benefits of taking Greek in Bible College wasn’t that I learned a bunch of fancy Greek words and concepts, no, taking Greek actually caused me to read the Bible more slowly and thus appreciate the text more fully. As I was learning the New Testament in the original language of Greek, I was forced to spend careful time translating every word and every verse assigned to me; and this was no fast process! But I learned so much from simply taking the time to read God’s Word slowly. I don’t always reference my Greek when I get ready to preach a sermon, but I definitely always read my English Bible with multiple self-imposed speed bumps all along the way. Let me encourage you: Slow down as you read your Bible. Stop to meditate on a single word or verse. Ponder what it is you’re reading. Better to read a single verse with understanding than a whole chapter and not have a clue as to what you read.
- You read with little expectation. It’s not that we expect too much from the Bible. It’s that we expect too little from the Bible. We compare Leviticus to Netflix and think: “There’s no way this can be as good!” Oh, how shallow we are! Listen…after all your favorite movies and TV shows have faded from glory, there will be the Bible. As all your favorite flicks graduate to the classic station of AMC or MeTV, there will be the Bible: Still Fully Relevant. Perfectly Beautiful. More Precious Than Gold. Sweeter Than Honey. Start expecting more from your Bible…it’s the very words of Life!
Interact with me on social media. Why is the Word of God precious to you? How do you maintain a love and delight for God’s Word in our entertainment-driven culture? Tell me on Facebook and use the hashtags: #SolaScriptura, #PFBC, and #PrairieStrong.