The Bible is a Strange Book

The Bible is a strange book, and with every decade that passes, its strangeness becomes more apparent. it is virtually the sole survivor, in the western world at least, of the books of antiquity. Caesar, Plato and Augustine are still in print and read by any. But they have no audience even remotely comparable with the Bible. Its sayings and stories have entered the culture as no other book has. But biblical illiteracy is apparent, and where the Bible is read its message is not always understood. It is as if we have been asked to host a visitor from another culture, where the possibilities for misunderstanding are high. Such a visitor poses a threat to our own way of doing things by showing us alternatives we may never have thought of. Equally, we may judge the stranger by the mores of our own society and find him lacking for all the wrong reasons.

The human disciplines in whose name we question the integrity of the Bible do not have the last word. In many ways the Bible has always been an outsider, challenging its own contemporary culture as it challenges ours. The opening chapters of Genesis fitted no more comfortably with ancient cosmogonies than with our own; the Bible’s willingness to provide the human narrative from its origin to its destiny and to judge the meaning of it all in terms of good and evil always threatens the evaluation of those who do not have such a lofty viewpoint. But strange thous the Bible is, it is also perennial and profoundly human. The ancient wisdom of the Proverbs, the cries of the Psalms and the stories of the ‘former prophets’ speak recognizably to human experience to this day. Much of the church’s present-day unease with the Bible is all the wrong reasons, a tragic capitulation to worldliness. Like the cross, the Scripture is a paradox of God’s self-revelation — foolish to the cultured, but wise beyond all measure to those who are being saved.

Peter Jensen, The Revelation of God, pp. 203-204

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  • http://www.praybuddy.com Chris @ PrayBuddy.com

    It’s survived so long because of all those colorful maps to look at in the back…

    well.. no… those weren’t in the original. :(