If the Bible is just looked on as physical ink on paper and bound with leather, then it falls apart upon examination. A step further than physical ink and paper, bound, is literal interpretation--that is, just observing what it says--the images it paints, the stories it tells. This, too, will fall apart upon examination. But the Bible is more than paper, ink, and binding. It is more than a series of words, divided into paragraphs, telling stories (that at times, seems so irrelevant). The Bible is a living book.
A living book is supernatural. I know in this day and age of rationalism, people tend to shy away from things supernatural but I am irked by that. We have a God who is supernatural. His children, us, witness the supernatural as we focus on Jesus as we live our lives. The supernatural happens! The Bible does much more than protect a pastor from a stray bullet (if he is carrying one in his breast pocket). It can save many people's lives.
There is an attitude of humbleness and contrition that is needed in order to receive the miracle of understanding and application that is available in the Bible. An atheist picks the Bible up and laughs and scorns it, before shrugging his shoulders and walking away. He is not interested in spiritual wisdom and already knows that it doesn't exist. Someone on the fence may pick up the Bible and begin to read it, but seeing so many "begats" (genealogy), they put the book down in frustration. "I thought it would be easier to read," they may complain. They may claim to be a believer but they are not well-grounded in God's Word and are easily swayed by the world (which has winds blowing in the total opposite direction of God's Word). There is no quick fix for appreciation of God's Word. If you don't have a hunger for it, you might try praying that God give you one.
People tend to get caught up in controversy, bogged down by the battles that must be fought, the wars that must be won. They may complain that the Bible is violent, but so is our world. This violence has roots that go very deep into the consciousness of us all. It is not "out there" only. Nor is it on the pages of the Bible, only. Its roots reach all the way down to our hearts and are embedded in the very core of all of us. The battles in the Bible, therefore, reflect the battles in our hearts that we fight every day. Have you noticed that the humble and worshipful warriors (even if they have a very small army) tend to win the battles?
God sent a Savior. He lifts our burdens. He fights our battles, if we will allow Him to. If we refuse to believe in His sovereign nature, His power, and in an eternal reality beyond this temporal physical world, we will miss the wonderful, applicable guidance that comes from God's Word. Without a repentant, contrite attitude and a down-on-our-knees worship of God, our faith will be weak and our lenses (our eyes) will not see how this Book reflects our heart and gives us a map enabling us to navigate this world successfully--because Jesus did this already. The words in this Book will fly right over our heads, crashing to the floor behind us, unless we can get our walls torn down so that we can come to God's Word empty--allowing God to fill us up with the truth--residing beyond appearances. If we already know, there is no room inn our minds for the birth of the Christ child. When we decide to follow the Star, Jesus, we become wise indeed with many gifts to give the world.
It is a strange thing that God requires our faith FIRST before He reveals Himself to us. The more faith we can muster up, the greater His revelation will be. People who come to God's Word with the attitude that it must prove itself to them before they will believe, have got the cart before the horse. Contrition, humbleness, a child-like sense of wonder and awe with a sense of expectation--all make up the most favorable fertilizer to enable you to embrace God's Word--and God's Word will then embrace you. Unfortunately, it doesn't really happen the other way around. The Word says we must reach for God and then He will reach for us. Jesus says, when addressing Thomas who doubted His resurrection until he could actually touch Jesus' wounds, "Blessed are those who can believe without touching." Isn't that us today?
You can access 1000's of inspiring talks all based on God's Word (just about every verse in the Bible is expostulated on) and you will be absolutely amazed at what an inspired man(or woman) of God can get out of God's Word. Go to Blue Letter Bible and choose audio/video. Some of my favorite pastors on this site are Damien Kyle, Bob Davis, Chuck Smith and Ray Steadman. Click on a name. Click on a book of the Bible. Then choose any of the talks for a treat. The wonderful depth of God's Word is unparalleled. Vic
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