Here are ten things that amaze me about the Bible.
1. Even though there is much “variety” in scripture (ever gotten whiplash reading Ecclesiastes after the this-world-makes-sense wisdom of Proverbs?) and even though the books in scripture came over hundreds of years, it contains an overarching theme, a narrative unity. It speaks with profound insight about creation, the fall, Israel, Jesus, the church, and the final consummation.
2. It speaks both simply and deeply, to child and to scholar.
3. While it keeps being claimed by groups who laughingly think they’ve figured it all out, it keeps resisting, plunging us to deeper insights and mysteries.
4. It doesn’t seek to prove much. It is a book of confession and proclamation more than it is a book of apologetics. It doesn’t try to prove that God created; it confesses that God created. It explores the implications for this world since God created (and since he delivered from bondage . . . and since he restored after the exile . . . and since Jesus was raised from the dead . . . ). It’s an inside job from those who are already on a journey of faith.
5. It isn’t embarrassed by faithful exploration of difficult questions. Words of doubt and lament don’t get edited out (unlike in many contemporary churches).
6. It permits the writers to explore faith through their own expressions (see #2 in this series). It doesn’t share our need to work out all the jars and clashes.
7. It points consistently to God, insisting that he–in all his glory, power, and mystery–has ways that are not our ways.
8. It seems to know me. It speaks to my life with profound insight.
9. It refuses to be the object of our desire. Some people saw the signs of Jesus (especially in John’s gospel) but never looked much beyond the signs to the one who performed them. (“My, my, really good wine,” said the wedding planner, smacking his lips.) Likewise, too many Christians develop a passionate devotion to the Bible as if it were part of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Bible. Like the index finger of John the Baptist, it points beyond itself.
10. It insists that I decide. It’s not JUST history; it’s not JUST prose and poetry; it’s not JUST insightful and true. It demands that I listen, decide, commit, and act.
This post originally appeared on Mike’s blog at this link.