Central United Methodist Church
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Endicott, New York
Pastor's Corner

How are you doing in your Bible reading and study? As Christians, this is supposed to be one of our foundational spiritual practices. It’s a good question to ask ourselves as we begin the Lenten season this month.

Aren’t you glad I asked in a newsletter and not in person? Most persons, if asked that question, might get a little embarrassed, and not have what they feel is an appropriate answer. 

 

Still a best-seller, reading the bible tends to be one of those things that we know we should do, but just have the hardest time actually doing. Kind of like cutting fats and exercising more. That bible tends to collect dust like that treadmill in your corner does. We know we should, but…

What is keeping you from reading it? You get enough of it on Sunday mornings?  You’ve never really stuck with it before, so why try again? It’s written in language that’s hard to understand? It’s too full of contradictions? Too many “Christians” in your experience have used it to beat others over the head?

All strong reasons, to be sure. Most are surmountable. First, for the record, that little bit on Sunday morning is not enough to sustain your spiritual growth for the week—it’s meant just to be a beginning. Some of the other objections can be overcome simply by getting a readable version; that King James on the shelf isn’t going to be very readable, consequently, it will not hold your attention. There are many versions in readable English; my current favorite is The Message. Get a “Remix” version of that (or look inside) so you know you have the verse numbers. The best (most accurate to the Hebrew and Greek) is the New Revised Standard version—it’s very readable too. Then just do it. Remember the old joke about eating the elephant? You have to do it one bite at a time. Don’t tell yourself you have to read a book a day. Or the whole thing in a year.  Just read. Study. Ask questions. And you will have questions. There are things in there that are hard to understand. There are differences in stories that are hard to explain.  I’m here to help!

Or, you might start with reading something about the bible. I’m currently suggesting folks read Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus and Jesus, Interrupted. He’s a fantastic New Testament scholar who addresses much of the difficulty we have in understanding the gospels in particular. He is very, very readable, too. Reading his work might just be the inspiration you need to read the bible and see for yourself what an amazing tool it is for growing in faith. It’s not too late to make a resolution— studying the bible is a great one!


Still in One Peace,