Why Should I Read the Bible?
"Yeah. I just don't get what they like about drinking. Drunks can't see straight. They can't walk straight. They slur their words. It seems stupid to me."
"Well, in a spiritual sense, we're like drunks," he explained. "If you try to steady a drunk when he's about to fall, he'll say 'Hold still!' when he's the one losing his balance. Reality hasn't changed, but he sure has. It's like that with us spiritually. So when we read the Bible, sometimes it doesn't make a lot of sense and seems off balance. But we're the ones who are confused."
"Like how?" I asked. We were both sitting on the mat by now.
"For one thing, our instinct is to try to earn God's favor, to prove to him we're worthy of his love," he said. "So we come across something like the Ten Commandments, and we think this is what we have to do to please God. We try to live that way and fail time and again, and then we say the Bible is irrelevant because its advice is impossible.
"All along, though, the Bible is trying to say something different—that we don't need to earn God's love, that his love is a gift, and that parts like the Ten Commandments are not ways to prove our worth but ways to say thanks to God for loving us already. It's just the opposite of what we, in our spiritually drunken state, have come to believe about God and what he expects from us."
I could see what he was saying—it seemed he had learned a lot in his first semester, at least about the Bible. But I wasn't ready to admit defeat just yet.
"You have to admit, the way the Bible is written—all sorts of books and styles jumbled together—well, it's pretty hard to read. I wish God would have laid it out a little more simply: 'Q: Who created the world? A: God. Q: What is the purpose of the Ten Commandments? A: To thank God for his love.' It would be so much easier."
"But God isn't interested in making your life easy," Josh countered. "He's interested in making your life an adventure. And that's why the Bible is very much like the adventure that life is. Life is not a series of questions and answers, but a journey. And a journey only slowly unfolds. It has many twists and turns and unexpected surprises. How interesting would The Lord of the Rings be if Frodo had been able to complete his mission by answering one question or simply walking across the Shire? It is not just the destination, but the journey itself, with its hazards, setbacks, victories and discoveries, that makes Tolkien's story so great. And it's what makes our lives so great."