Check Out for Yourself What the Bible Claims - October 4, 1994
Can I tell you about the Ethnicity class I am taking? The final assignments is to write a ten page paper on a blues or jazz artist. Now my professor was very clear when he told us to start early in the semester. "You can read about music," he said, "you can research the artist's background, but if you don't get out there and really listen to the music, you won't get it." "You have to listen to the blues shows on the radio, attend a concert or two, buy a few cd's and listen," he said. The big words he emphasized were: "experience the music firsthand."
And I think that we all know what he's talking about. I remember this summer my roommate trying to explain to me the movie "Clear and Present Danger," but until I actually sat in the seat, had twizlers under my arm and coke in my hand and saw the movie, I didn't have the full affect. You see, the choice is this: you can look at baby pictures, or you can snuggle up to a real infant who will really sleep in your arms and really breath on your face. Let's put aside the impersonal approach. Let's snuggle to something real.
There's been some talk recently about God and the Bible. Sorry to bring up the big-bad "B" word, but in a way, the Bible can be like baby pictures. I think you'll catch on to what I mean if you let me explain. And thank you for following this so far.
If I'm honest, I'll tell you that growing up, I was only familiar with the Bible from the weirdoes on Oprah and Phil, and the televangelists who all seemed to be sleeping with their beautiful secretaries. I thought that all Christians let their kids die by keeping them away from medication. And I thought that the Bible was the source of this. I mean, isn't it?
As a senior, it's hitting home to me what an amazing time college is. You see, now is the time to ask questions. Now is the time to investigate. And now is the time to close your mind. Oops, did I say that? Well, yes, I did. You see, by simply writing off the Bible and ignoring it, you're closing your mind to what it can offer you. I mean, you could at least check it out. Here's a secret: now is the time to explore.
When I was nine, I had a fish. It died. When I was nine and my fish died, I had a hamster. It moved around. It spun in a wheel. It rested in my hand. It died. Am I the only one who has been through this?
I think we all have experienced that nothing lasts. And the truth is that some day, we will die. Want to hear something really cool? Here it is... when nothing else lasts, the word of God will always be true. It will be true when while we're in school. It will be true when we are taking our final exams. It will be true when we can't pay our debts. And it is true today when we need God in our lives. Check out Matthew 24:35. Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." I want to tell you that this is true. The Bible also says, "The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:8). Isn't that amazing?
Let me try to put that in modern terms. Tom Clancy may sell a lot of books, but there has never been a book like the Bible. It has been printed more than any other book ever in the history of the world and it will never go out of print; ever. If you're not at the point where you know it is the word of God, at the very least, you should be interested enough to check it out. The book is worthy of our time. In a nutshell: it just may surprise you as it surprised me when I started reading it.
No, I did not grow up in a believing household. I thought that people who read the Bible were freaks. I thought it was a crutch for the weak. I thought a lot of things. But I had never read any of it. So in my "strength," I was proving how close minded I really was. That changed for me.
My advice is simple: don't listen just to me, go check it out for yourself. Get you and a Bible and an open mind and read it. Oh, yeah, open mind is necessary here. Sorry. Close minded people can stop reading now.
Here's some tips: It wasn't written in the order that we have it, so you don't have to read it in order. The order we have just places similar books together for convenience. And the Bible is ultimately about Jesus, so the best starting point is the books that talk about the life of Jesus; or the "gospels." They're right in the beginning of the New Testament - can't miss 'em. Of the gospel writers, Jesus was closest to John, so it makes sense to start with what he had to say. Check out John. Why not? And if you want to skip to the good stuff, go to John chapter 3. I think you'll find it pretty neat.
My roommate, Bob, said something really cool, so I'll give him credit. Here it goes: Go outside on a clear night. The sky is beautiful. Every single star shines clean and pure. Did you notice that you get a much more accurate picture when you look directly at the stars than when you look down at the blurred reflection in the water? If you want to form your opinions on what you "hear" on Oprah, that's like looking at a hazy reflection. It's much better to look up at the clear and accurate view. The Bible is available. It's all over the place and you can get a free soft-back copy, or you could get an 80 dollar leather one. Your choice. And if you want, call me and I'll be glad to get you a free one. My number is 862-8427. Feel free to call me, or if you know a believer (and there are lots of us), ask him or her. I guarantee you'd make their day, and you might just make yours too.