The Why of the Word

It used to feel like the morning newspaper was out of date by the time the 6:00 news came on TV. Now it feels like the tweet I’m currently reading will be obsolete by the time I swipe to refresh my feed. In a world where we are constantly inundated with new information and where experts estimate that the quantity of human knowledge doubles every 12 hours, why would we turn to a book whose contents are thousands of years old? How can the words inside be as relevant to our life circumstances and as salient to our life story as what is currently on the New York Times Bestseller List or in the self-help section at Barnes & Noble?

 I think that’s why raising the question of “Why should I read the Bible?” in Pastor Arlena’s sermon on Sunday was so important. I tend to focus more on the what, where, when and how of getting into the Word, so it can be helpful to step back and consider the why. I sometimes hear the clichés that the Bible is “God’s little instruction book on life” or “God’s love letter to us.” There certainly is truth to both of these statements, but if that’s as deep as our why goes, I think it will leave large swaths of the Bible unintelligible to us because they don’t fit neatly into those simple paradigms.

Jesus himself challenged us to examine our why in his encounter with religious leaders described in John 5:39-40. He said to them, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” When we read the Bible, we’re not just accumulating practical tidbits on how to be successful in life or trying to unlock spiritual secrets to how the universe works. We’re getting to know a Person in all of his depth, brilliance, complexity and nuance. It’s like the difference between reading a dating profile and spending a day with your spouse of many years. When we read the Bible, God’s word, we’re not just gathering academic information, we’re actually getting to know Someone. Reading the word of God in Scripture is an invitation to know the eternal Word of God: Jesus (John 1:1).

by Steve Lamp
Steve and his wife Melissa began attending Kingsway in 2014. Not normally prone to public displays of emotion, he wept during the first worship service and knew he had found home. As an avid reader, Steve believes the ideas we allow into our minds are critical to our spiritual formation. He enjoys exploring nature, playing and spending time with his two young sons and over-quoting his favorite authors, C.S. Lewis and Dallas Willard.