Ah, yes… the Holy Bible. The very mention of it stirs up a wide variety of responses. Some think of archaic language and dust-covered black leather, a book for another time. It’s an irrelevant set of religious writings that have some good advice, but no significant value for today.
Others remember their Sunday School classes from their younger days, growing up in church. Memories involve the great stories of the Bible such as David versus Goliath, Noah’s Ark, and the life of Jesus.
What rarely comes to mind are the stories of betrayal, sex, violence, and intrigue. It’s a dynamic book, “inspired by God,” as 2 Timothy says. The Greek word for inspired is theopneustos, or “God-breathed.” Depending on our view of God’s character, it may be surprising that such scandalous topics are breathed-out from God. Doesn’t God want us to avoid stories that involve sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll? Apparently not.
At no point in the Bible do we ever find that a topic is being avoided. No issue is off-limits. The reason? Nothing is off-limits to a God who refuses to be separated from the real experiences and emotions of life. Whether it be an addiction, strain in a relationship, or worry over a big decision, God is habitually getting his hands dirty to plant transformation and hope within our mess. The first four books of the New Testament chronicle this very characteristic, seen in the life of Jesus. Those stories were about real people with complex problems who were touched by a loving, interested Savior.
Now that I think of it that way, it’s nice to know that I could have been a Bible story, too.