I have noticed a trend that is bothering me.
Too many people feel uncomfortable talking about the Bible.
The great tools available to help us interpret the Scriptures have somehow become trappings that are stifling our voices.
We go to churches with gifted, dynamic, and intelligent speakers. (Or, if we don’t, we listen to podcasts of churches that do.) We read articles and books and blogs by writers who have advanced degrees in biblical history and languages. We interact with professional pastors who are paid to read the Scriptures.
We listen and read and study and learn. And, then, after all that absorbing, we feel inadequate.
Who am I to talk about the Bible? I don’t know Hebrew or Greek. I am not a trained minister. I am not a gifted theologian. It is not my role.
Studying, speaking, and writing about the Bible is not a job best left for the experts.
Just to be clear, I believe in the work of biblical experts.
I count it a privilege to read the works of theologians and scholars that can deepen my understanding of its words. The Bible is not simple. It is a complicated text entrenched in culture and history. Professionals can shed light on the nuances and difficulties that we didn’t hear about in Sunday School or memory verse drills.
But I also believe in the Holy Spirit.
The Word of God is alive and active. When we read it, if we allow Him to, God uses the verses to change us. The Bible feeds our souls, convicts us of our sins, inspires us to live differently, and reminds of God’s redemption story.
When that happens to you, I want to hear about it. It keeps me accountable to reading the Bible, too. Not because someone is telling me to, but because I am inspired by hearing someone else’s story of why the words of the Scripture matter.
That’s not to say that every time we read the Bible there are lightning bolts and fuzzy feelings and rainbows in the sky. Sometimes we walk away frustrated or confused. We wonder why in the world God put that verse or that story in with the rest of the text.
When that happens to you, I want to hear about it. It shows me I am not alone in my frustrations. It allows us to wrestle with the Scriptures together instead of question alone. It reminds me that it is okay if I don’t have all the answers and cannot bring everything to a nice and tidy conclusion.
When you read the Bible, I want to hear about it.
I want to be reminded that the living Holy Spirit weaves these living Words into the living body of His Church. I want to appreciate that reading the Bible is not always about being accurate to the text, but also about being accessible to its power. I want to be encouraged to keep on reading when I feel like giving up.
Talking about the Bible is not the job of professional pastors, it is the work of the God’s people. So please, tell me what you are reading in the Scriptures. You are my pastor, too.