Church has made the Bible something to be intellectually dissected by a religious professional and taught in a classroom-style Sunday morning “service.” But I believe that misses the point of the Book! Instead of us just hearing a preacher dissect the Bible, we need to let the Bible dissect us.
The Bible is a warm, loving HUG; not a cold, hard textbook! It’s not meant to be the guide for an academic exercise, but the catalyst for epidemic transformation. Let me explain how the Bible is a loving HUG:
- H stands for handbook. When I was a Boy Scout, I had a copy of the Boy Scout Hand Book. However, in seven years of being a Scout, I don’t think my scoutmaster ever gave us a lecture on it. But he didn’t ignore it. Whenever we would have trouble starting a fire, trying a knot, pitching a tent, or practicing a first aid technique, our scoutmaster would say: “It’s in the handbook.” Then he would show us where to turn and help walk us through applying the handbook’s instructions in our situation.
- U represents a user’s (or owner’s) manual. The purpose of a user’s manual is to help you use a device or machine in real life; not just to give you a bunch of technical facts. Sometimes I will get a devise, turn it on, and in no time make a mess of it. At that moment I don’t need facts. I need guidance. I need “how-to.” The Bible was not written to just give us spiritual facts. God designed it to give us practical instructions on how to live our daily lives. So, the next time you feel like you are messed up, take out the user’s manual for human beings and begin to do what it tells you.
- G stands for guidebook. Once I bought a guidebook for Mexico City. I read about Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, Chapultepec Park, the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, and many other places. However, I quickly got bored reading about those places. Then I went to Mexico City and experienced them for myself and suddenly those places came alive for me. The purpose of a guide book is to help you personally experience exciting places, not to bore you with information about those places and things. And the purpose of the Bible is to guide you into personally experiencing things like: being forgiven, loving people, ministering to one another, praying over the sick, testifying about the living Jesus, exhorting one another, confessing your sins, being led by the Holy Spirit, resisting and driving out demons, and much more! We’re not just supposed to hear a talk about these things. We’re supposed to learn to do them when we meet together and then go do them in our everyday lives!
The bible is a loving HUG. It’s a love letter from the living God. Most people don’t read a love letter academically and analyze every word. They don’t get a professional to lecture them about it. Instead they read it with passion and let it encourage them, warm their heart, and thrill them with joy. They savor it and allow it to move them to “climb the highest mountain” or “swim the deepest ocean” for the one they love.
The Bible was never intended to be a dry textbook. It’s really more like a modern infomercial. It was written to inspire us, to persuade us, to challenge us, and to motive us to take immediate action. The Bible is like a Broadway actor’s script. It’s not something to file in the mind, but to act out on the stage of daily life!
Before the Protestant Reformation church tended to ignore the Bible (sometimes they would even persecute ordinary people who tried to read it). Then the Reformation made the Bible a religious text book to be taught in a talk. Perhaps it’s now time to let the Bible be God’s loving HUG! But how?
- Read it for yourself. Read it at least 5 minutes every single day and then actually begin to do what it tells you to.
- Meet regularly in the lab of ekklesia (the Greek New Testamet word mistranslated as “church”) with others and let the living Jesus teach you how to apply the Bible as the body of Christ. To learn more about ekklesia check out this link.