Why Should I Read the Bible?
Josh and I had gotten together at the gym for a workout on the wrestling mat. We were just starting to circle for a takedown when I told him I wasn't reading my Bible anymore. I figured he'd tell me he understood and he'd be praying for me, the type of thing you'd expect from a compassionate friend. Instead, he just stared at me with a look that said, "You stupid dork."
He kept giving me that look as we circled one another for what seemed like the length of two geometry periods. I finally stopped and blurted out, "What's your problem?"
"You're a stupid dork," he said.
"You heard me. You're acting like a little kid."
"What do you mean?"
"Let me guess why you stopped reading the Bible: It just doesn't seem relevant anymore."
I hated Josh at times like this. He knew me too well. We'd been friends since I'd been a freshman and he a sophomore on our high school's wrestling team. I was always the better wrestler—even though I was smaller than him. But he was always the better Christian—even though I had gone to church longer than he had. Now, he was in college and I was a high school senior, and we were catching up after a few months apart. I wanted to see if he'd gotten any better at wrestling; he had been asking me about my spiritual life.
"I pick it up and try to read it, but it's so strange," I explained. "There's all that stuff about the Canaanites and the Jebusites and so on—who cares? And in the New Testament, they toss around monster words like justification and sanctification—who talks like that today?"
I was surprised at how angry I was getting. "Even Jesus makes no sense sometimes: 'The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.' 'The kingdom of God is like a treasure hidden in a field.' What's that supposed to mean? And then there are books like Ezekiel and Revelation—well, don't even get me started!" I was fuming now.
"So, you're ticked off because the Bible is hard to understand," Josh replied.
"Yeah," I said, realizing I'd stopped moving during my rant. "I get all this pressure from my family and the church—and now you—to read a book that doesn't make a whole lot of sense a lot of the time. I'm tired of it." And though I hated to admit it, I concluded in disgust, "So, yeah, it's irrelevant."
Josh was silent for a long time. I started circling him again, wanting to end the conversation so we could keep wrestling. I wanted to see if I could still take down his 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame. Then he asked me, "Did it ever occur to you that maybe it's not the Bible that's irrelevant, but that you're irrelevant?"
"What are you talking about?" I was still mad, but intrigued. I stood still again, realizing the conversation was not over.
"I don't mean just you. I mean all of us. Human beings—we're the ones who are irrelevant, out of touch with reality. And it's the Bible that's relevant and real." He paused. He could see I was having trouble understanding. Then he asked, "Have you ever seen someone who's drunk?"