Earlier this month, GQ published an article, describing the Bible as “repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned.” Not surprisingly, there have been some reactions from Christian organizations and publishing. Pastors, scholars, and theologians have rushed to defend the Bible, protecting God and God’s word from the editors of GQ. I’m not sure either needs defending.
In fairness, the Bible can be all of those things. The Bible is made up of sixty-six different books. Some of the stories contained within are deeply disturbing, painful, heartbreaking, and frankly, some are boring. But, it can also be beautiful, powerful, comforting, challenging, and provoking. The reading of scripture can be revealing, showing me something new in the world, God’s dreams and visions, and my own heart.
Each week, when we gather to worship together we turn to one or two texts from the Bible. I believe this text has something to say about what God intends for our lives, our community, our world. I believe the Word speaks to our unique experiences as individuals and to us as a community of faith. I believe that one hundred people can hear the same text, but experience it differently, depending on where they are in their lives and circumstance.
This week our lesson is the story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch or the story of life-changing Bible study. The editors of GQ may feel that the Bible isn’t worth reading anymore, but I beg to differ. In my reading of scripture, I am challenged, comforted, and changed. I won’t be done studying this living word until it’s done with me.