I’ve been thinking about books a lot lately. Those who know me well know that this isn’t something new. I love to read. Sometimes I am into reading (and writing) Christian fiction, sometimes I like to get heavily into theological treatises and biblical studies (again writing along those lines)..
Books are important to me. But as I reflect on books, I look back at my life and see a couple of different ways I have viewed books in the past. There have been times in my life when collecting books was a source of pride. My library (sort of a gaudy way to look at books) exhibited to the world and my friends how smart I was. In reality, I just had a lot of books that maybe never got opened.
There was a point in my life where books would just collect dust until it was time to move, then they become one heavy box after another. Or books became simply textbooks needed for another class toward another degree.
The point of this little diatribe is that books can become meaningless if they are treated as a trophy that never gets opened and used to enhance my life, not my ego, but something that truly makes me a better person.
The Bible can be used in the same way in spades. For too much of my life, my collection of Bibles would just gather dust. Or it became a way for me to show off my intelligence about the 66 books that lie therein.
The Bible, viewed properly, should never be used for the purpose of pride. It should never be used to justify my theological position on some matter. Rather, it should be used to introduce me and us to the Author of the Bible, God Himself. And, in that knowing, I am, and others are, changed, transformed. Yet,, in this case, the real transformation comes when the Author of this sacred book invades our very being.
So, I resolve never to use the Bible in any way contrary to its purpose in my life, in my study, in my daily walk with the Author. And this is done best in the context of community, not in some ivory tower intellectual way, or in some touchy, feely, emotional way; but in the way that leads me to the foot of the cross and beyond, in communion with God and in community with each other.
Ray Jewell is a frequent co-host on the Basic Bible Podcast, the director of the Janesville Community Center, teacher at Rock County Christian School and the author of the Ray’s Rambling Blog.