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Why Read the Bible?

     How may times have you read a Bible?  When I was 15  years old, my grandmother told me a story that Abraham Lincoln  had read the Bible through by the age of fifteen. She challenged me to duplicate that and as motivation, she would also read hers through. During her lifetime, we kept up that bargain trying to read our Bibles through each  year. I formed a habit that still challenges me to fulfill it annually but I have completed reading the entire Bible several times.

    Why read the Bible? Isn't it just an old classic that gathers dust on some library shelf  someplace? In some cases, that is true. More likely for most Americans, there might also be one laying around the house that is a gift from a relative or the Gideon International business men's organization. Don't have one? Check out the local Wal-Mart book section.  They usually have several styles and translations.  What is the web address,

    But why read the Bible, if not more than once, at least once? From the shear number of sales, it still remains annually on the best seller list. Not motivated to know why? What if it helped form the basis of today's English expression? Still not motivated, really who cares? Hey, can I get it on my Ipod?

     Do you like romance, political intrigue, civil war, lurid-heinous crimes, and accounts of worldwide catastrophes in the past and predictions for the future? What about justice and fairness? How about guilt, shame, humiliations, and punishment? What if there is a formula for acquiring great wealth, power, and success?

    Ever wonder how the world will end? Is there anything that can slow it down or reverse the final outcome? What is the Bible's estimation of the NOW? Are my only choice fear or boredom? What are my choices?

    What does it say about raging social issues, like abortion, war, taxes, drugs, gay marriage, and hate crimes that exercise our culture? Is there an alternative solution to prejudice and violence? If the golden rule is to treat others as you wished to be treated, it can't be all that bad.

    Is there something in it that will tell me how to get along with my friends? Is there something there on improving relationships in families, at school, and at work? Can I read it when I am just hanging out or chilling with my friends? What if we read it with a partner or in a  group? What's the thing described in the Bible as the "community of the saints"?

    Are there historical sections that challenge the naturalistic assumptions in science and world history? What part does it play in the Renaissance and Reformation? Are there really codes in it that predict history before it happens?

    What is the rancor about Moses' 10 Commandments or Words as it is in the original transcripts? How can 10 words cause such social consternation that makes it necessary for the Supreme Court to get involved? Why does the Bill of Rights protect my right to own, read, and believe the Bible? Use the Bible again as a text in school as a teaching tool-novel idea or a revisit of historical practice-check out the history of the Bible in the public schools!

    As literature, some of its most important themes: love, sin, justice, forgiveness, redemption, and hope dominate its pages.  Literature is stacked with books inspired by its great themes written by authors who quote it and who adapt its human drama to their own works.

     It makes some very fantastic yet experimentally viable claims about God and other gods, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It offers readers a way to find eternal life for those willing to tread "The Way" path on their journey through life.  It invites readers to investigate the historical basis for the Church's claim that Jesus is raised from the dead on the first Easter. It offers a solution to feelings of disconnectedness to God.  Get connected to God by faith by following the paths in it.

    It provides a wealth of information for those who wish to diialogue with other religious expressions.  It challenges a reader's ethics and morality like few other engagements do. How does it affect the new ideal of a world wide peaceful culture?

    Augustine's book, Confessions, dwarfs in comparision to the range of topics the Bible addresses. How could 40 authors writing over a period of 1500 years say things that have such insight to today's life? The cannonized Bible as we know it today has been in existence for hundreds of years yet it speaks with significance as if it was written today.  Is its message significant in what the Bible's authors willed to write then or is it more significant in what I get out of it today?

    Why does it make a reader happy, sad, guilty, angry, and hopeful all within the narrative? Why does it motivate to change, bring comfort, and empower with a sense of authenticity that few other books do? If I take the challenge to read it, I will find out. Got a question? Write Pastor Mke and/or ontwabc@earthlinknet and get an answer!