Muddy Waters of the Written Word Vs The Bible
Typed communication has left the remnant of friendships littered on the highway of life. It chips away at the social fab…I don’t even know what social fabric is…
Words are tricky and even more so when they are put together to create sentences. If we were to plumb the depths of misunderstood emails, tear streaked girlfriend-faces staring at a one word text from a well meaning boyfriend or that Facebook post you can’t help but comment on with your fitting response to a mistaken issue, we would probably find a bottomless chasm that is inhabited by freakishly large-eyed blobs.
These errors, however, are not content to inhabit social territory, even great works of literature bear the burden of translating ideas to a bored, emotional or thick headed student. I recall with unease my high school English teacher asking me for several themes for a book we were reading. I listed three, pulled out from some unknown part of my brain, probably a shadow on a CT scan. One, she told me, was wrong.
How did she know it was wrong? Did she ask the long dead author for his list of themes? I smouldered, wondering if a book had ever been purposely written with no theme – an exercise in ‘modern art’.
And what about the labyrinth that is symbolism? In the words of author William Zinsser “I have an unbroken record of missing the deeper meaning in any story…”
If it is true that a well meaning human being can read something so defectively, whether a piece of of literary genius or a friend’s email…would it not follow that reading The Bible would carry the same peril? And perhaps even more so because we are dealing with eternity.
God’s Word may be inerrant but our deftness can be, well, daft.
But The Bible is not like other books. Reading The Bible is about more than just – reading The Bible. The words on the page only tell part of the story. And before you go pointing a theological finger at me in a proclamation of doom (alas the downfall of many a blog post) – I’m not saying that The Bible should be added to or taken away from in any way. What I’m suggesting is that it’s not your favourite version of The Bible that carries weight, it’s whether or not you take the time to have a conversation with the Author.
There is value in Biblical Commentary, just like there is value in CliffsNotes. But nothing beats talking to the author. And while God may require us to dig a bit deeper (He loves it when we care enough to pursue Him) He always opens the door to those who knock.
And why stop there? James informs us in Chapter 1 that if we lack wisdom we should ask God for some. This can apply to Facebook as much as anything else. So next time you feel discombobulated by what you are reading, take some time to speak to the creator of the universe…you may learn a theme or two.