This year’s theme is “The Life.” Today we explore that with…..
The Life of Scripture
Chris Cherry is an ordained minister with over nine years of experience in student ministry. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife Tory and dog Yadi. Chris loves reading, especially theology and philosophy, and has been devoting more time to writing. Chris also enjoys sports, music, and flamin hot Cheetos.
I’ve heard all my life that the Bible is different from other books because “It’s alive.” I’ve also never heard anyone adequately explain what that means. Instead they usually just talk about “inspiration” and adjectives that can be true for a lot of things, living or dead, much less the Bible.
The irony of being taught that the Bible is a living document is that this lesson is usually also accompanied by portraits of scripture that make it sound like a rule book with set answers and an angry God who demands we stay in line. Not exactly life-giving to me. This line of thinking narrows the view of scripture, puts God in a box we think we can manage, and shuts off future conversation and exploration.
I find the counter point significantly more interesting and more appealing. I’ve been wrestling with a new perspective for a while now, but Rob Bell’s new book What is the Bible? really framed the idea well, so I’ll borrow his premise to explain it. In the book, Bell opens scripture up, lets it speak for itself, and demonstrates that the Bible is not written to narrow the focus and shut off conversation with rules and things that seem like set answers. Instead, the Bible is designed to expand our worldviews, open conversation, and encourage us to ask questions to explore more deeply. The Bible pulls us forward into new ways of thinking and challenges us to see beyond the borders we have set up. This blog post isn’t long enough to go into detail, but this new way of looking at the Bible has changed everything for me.
I used to look at a passage and be uncomfortable with the “traditional” literal reading. Not knowing all the other options often meant I simply set it aside or dismissed it. I struggled with scripture and how mainstream Christianity makes it seem so simple and straightforward. Only within the last couple of years, with this new perspective, has scripture really felt “alive” to me. I read stories with more focus on the deeper meaning and the overall arc of the narrative than on the details that trip people up. Meaning is no longer surface level, but colorful, expansive, and relevant.
It’s always been important to me to show people of all ages why the Bible isn’t boring or stale or “so old it doesn’t matter anymore.” Now, when I show them how the Bible opens up our world, expands our conversations, and pulls us forward, they’re interested. They’re captured by something. They’re seeing God. I think this is what it means to teach someone that the Bible is a living book—it grows with us and calls us to something greater than ourselves.