Tuesday, January 26, 2010

On the Bible and Bigotry

Of all the books ever made, the Bible is by far the most influential, best selling tome out there.  Whether you’re religious (I hate using that word) or not, it’s very likely that you know what a Bible is.  They’re ubiquitous nowadays, and to me that’s a good thing.  Personally, I know I own at least 7 Bibles: 1 Thompson Chain KJV, 1 Dake Annotated Reference KJV, 1 Daily KJV, 1 Compact HCSB, 1 Study HCSB, 1 Slim ESV, 1 NASB.  There’s just something special about the book that I love.

The book offers a wide array of authors, but stems from the inspiration of God.  Broken into 66 individual books, including history, poetry, proverbs, prophecy, the Bible is a book filled with wonder.  Some believe that the events in the Bible are fictitious or hyperbolized, but I do not.  The stories of the Old Testament are fascinating.  You get to see many great men and women of God profess their love and adoration to Him, but you see their weaknesses and failures, too.  Moses’ anger.  King David’s lust.  Jonah’s fear.

Nearly all of the events in the Old Testament deal with the people of Israel and their constant love-hate relationship with the Creator.  God’s hand in building up His people, from the birth of Isaac, through the splitting of the kingdom, and to the captivity of the nations, all lead up to the New Testament.

Where is our Savior?  I’m sure they wondered.  Where is the Messiah?

Everyone knows the Christmas story.  Jesus was humbly born in a manger.  This babe grew to become the Savior of Man.  He performed miracles, causing the lame to walk and the blind to see (among others), all in the name of God.  He offered a way of life that involved love and peace, understanding and compassion.  His greatest commandments were to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37,39)

It’s these words that are life-changing.  If we love our God with our everything and we love our neighbors as ourselves, then how can we not love everyone?  How can we be a people of hate and bigotry and then turn around and quote Jesus?  Christ did not say to the harlot “get away from me you vile and wretched whore.”  No.  Jesus loved her.  He welcomed her.  He gave her living water.  He forgave her.  He died for her.

The same is true for you and I.  Jesus, the Son of God, the only true holy person to have ever lived, lived a perfect and flawless life.  His message of love and peace was scoffed at.  His claims of being the Son of God were ridiculed.  He freely gave up his life to be crucified on a horrible, wooden cross.  His arms and feet were nailed into the wood and he was erected on a hill, above the gathered crowd.  He cried out to forgive the people and he died.

This terrible death did not end him, though.  Three days later he arose from the grave, glorified and holy.  He walked the grounds, once again preaching and healing.

I read the Bible.  How can I not?  It is the sole book on which I have based my life upon.  The words, while confusing (I’m looking at you Ezekiel and Daniel), are powerful and God-spoken.  But beyond the words is the message.  The message to love.  If Jesus commanded us to love, then why don’t we?  Why are there people that think it’s okay to be racist?  Prejudiced?  Homophobic?  This is wrong.  Christ did not tell us to love almost everyone as ourselves.  It’s an all or nothing thing.

This post is not about theology.  It’s about the fact that I love the Bible and I wish I read it more.  I love the stories of David and the Judges and the Prophets and the early church.   I love reading about my Savior and his life.  But I also love reading the truth in the Scripture, the convicting truth that we are to love our God with all our heart, body, mind, and soul, and I know I don’t put in all four often enough.  The truth that we are to love everybody, not just those that think like we do.

It’s a tough life and I’m not sure how I could make it without Jesus.  I find comfort and strength in his words.  I fail and fall short often, but I know he’s there for me when I rise again.  It’s my prayer that we’ll be a people that embraces his teaching—all of his teaching—and that our world will be a better place.


David Wagner said...

I don't think I've ever read a traditional book review of the Bible before! What a fun idea! Or do you think that would minimize it? Add it to your 2010 reads list, post a review, etc?

I'm with you on reading it - it's like a treasure chest to me. I've gone through periods in life where I devoured it - it was all I read. Other periods where I wouldn't read it much, due to disillusionment on some levels... but I have enough of it memorized (in song form and other ways) that even in the middle of the night, if I was awake, I could recite passages/chapters and receive benefit.

I also have the audio KJV on my iPod, and I'll listen to it as I walk (when I walk, that is...)

Anyway, good post today, as usual.

logankstewart said...

I definitely don't think it would minimize it. Heck, it could stay concreted into the "Current Reading" list and a different review could be written after each go through.

I seem to be in one of those periods where I don't read as much as I want to, but I hope to remedy that soon.

I have a (Darth Vader) James Earl Jones reads the KJV bible, and it's well done. Jones has such a commanding voice. I'll hopefully be getting to review a new audio bible soon, though.

Thanks for the comment.

Brandon said...

Loved your thoughts here Logan. If more "Christians" read the Bible, I think the image of Christs in America would be much different.

logankstewart said...

Thanks, Brandon, and I have to completely agree.