I came across an article in Newsweek this week that immediately captured my attention; “The Bible: So Misunderstood It's a Sin” by Kurt Eichenwald. I don’t believe it would be overstating the obvious to say that Mr. Eichenwald is not a fan of Evangelicals or anyone who “takes the Bible literally.” In fact he spills a great deal of ink attacking “religious rationalizers” who “twist phrases and modify translations to prove they are honoring the Bible’s words.” His article is so fraught with deliberately misleading or blatantly biased data, that I struggled not to scream in sheer vexation. Clearly, we don’t see eye-to-eye on the value of the Bible. Yet Mr. Eichewald’s article made me stop and think. The main premise was something along the lines of, “[Evangelical’s] lack of knowledge about the Bible is well established.” Leaving all the gross exaggerations and deliberate misrepresentations aside, I think he may be correct (sigh). What I will disagree with him is that the appropriate answer is not to undermine or ‘expose’ the Bible, but rather to plea for people to read it, study it, meditate on it, and memorize it. Mr Eichenwald’s article has much factual information in it about manuscripts, translation, and church history yet they are grossly misrepresented (Al Mohler, president of Southern Seminary writes an excellent article in response ). They are all presented to somehow discredit the Bible and reduce it to mere maxim literature that a person must “discern the message for [himself].” However, if a person spends any time reading through scripture they are immediately struck by the nature of God and the nature of man. As creator of the universe He is sovereign and transcendent over His creation. Man’s heart is shown to be rebellious, self seeking, and untrue as generation after generation finds new ways to rebel against the way of the Lord. Suddenly, after 400 years of silence that New Testament unfolds with the the glory of God and the heavenly pronouncement of “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (Luke 2:10) If you read through the gospels you can’t get around statements like John’s purpose for writing in John 20:31, “these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” You simply cannot get around the authority of Christ. Regretfully, Evangelicals often fall victim to the crafty arguments of people such as Mr. Eichenwald who have a very low view of scripture because they do not know scripture themselves. We know all the latest stats of our favorite athlete, the dirt on all the characters from our favorite television show, or the latest market trends & analysis but are simply clueless when it comes to what Scripture holds. This should never be! I cannot help but think that if more Evangelicals would dedicate themselves to knowing Scripture they would be able to answer many of the accusations critics hurl at the Bible. Where should you begin? It starts by opening up scripture and reading it. You may be surprised that by actually reading it you may get a much clearer picture of God. The God of Scripture stands in stark contrast to how society portrays him. He is not like the manipulative Facebook posts or how the Black & White highway billboards portray him. Reading the pages of Scripture give you a high-definition picture of who God is, what He demands of creation, and how we can have peace with Him. So I encourage you today to sit down and start reading the Bible. Make it a habit to sit down daily and read through the pages of scripture. It is not always easy. It can be very confusing. However, there are many resources, study aids, reading plans to assist you along the way. Most of all, Jesus promised his disciples that the Holy Spirit would guide his people in truth (John 16:13-15). As Christians, we can be confident in this promise that God speaks through His word. If we want to hear the voice of God it is imperative that we read, know, understand, love, and devote ourselves to this sacred text. May we never be a people who are guilty of a low view of scripture, laziness in its study, nor complacency in its worth. It is the very source of strength that brings life to our thirsty souls! I would encourage each one of you to begin reading scripture in 2015.
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