Dietrich Bonhoeffer — and countless others — have considered the Bible to be like a love letter from God. That is more than just a sweet sentiment: It tells us something about how to read Scripture. Sure, we need careful, observant study but ultimately we turn to the Bible in order to hear the Spirit of the Lord speaking to us personally.
I like what William Willimon once said: “People often flip the pages of the Bible, looking for their own name.” Do I have a place in God’s story? Is it addressed to me or just to other, more religious or more righteous people?
I have no definitive definition of the idea that the Bible is the Word of God. I am sure it is a union of human and divine, just as was Jesus, but I can hardly express what that means. What I do know is that the Spirit of Jesus Christ has spoken through the pages of Scripture to me and to countless thousands of others over the centuries.
I know there are frauds, people who pretend to have a high regard for Scripture but whose character does not reflect the character of Jesus Christ. They are easy enough to recognize and not worthy of much attention.
I have made a number of trips to Bangkok, leading Bible studies, and have noticed that one can buy an unlimited supply of “genuine” Seiko watches for two or three dollars. They are fake, of course, and not worth any attention at all. Same goes for fake Christians: The mark of the real Christian is a Christlike love, a godly character. Without any exception at all, each of the real Christians I have known over the decades has been a person who dwelt long and often in the Bible.
I invite you to sit with me so we can dwell there together, to look and listen together. Okay?