Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Read hard things

I came across an interesting little new testament in a charity store recently. It was called the Possibility thinkers edition. Instead of the normal concordance or topical index it just had a list of the miracles of Jesus. It came with verses that were of a positive nature highlighted like blessings and miracles. It sometimes had whole paragraphs highlighted minus one inconvenient verse in the middle. It was an interesting exercise to go through passages reading only the highlighted text! Needless to say, it often left an incorrect picture of what was being communicated in the passage most of the time.

While we might critique the idea of bibles pre-highlighted to only point out the positives we often read as though such highlightings are there even when they are not. It is easy to read through a passage and latch onto a promise for blessing but totally ignore the attached command of obedience. Sin is a super easy topic to race past in the search of something more pleasant. We might get a more enjoyable reading but we end up missing important things in the text and therefore risk an unbalanced theology if we focus on only what we want to hear.

So if you are like me and tend to read looking for the stuff you like and discarding the stuff you don't, i challenge you to deliberately read the hard things when you read the bible. Spend some studying the things in the text that annoy you or you secretly wish weren't there. Often the commandments and teachings that annoy us are a great pointer to areas of weakness that we need to improve in. Reading the hard things can be...well...hard! But i think it is worth it!


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  2. I got to your blog from The Church of No People (Matt's) blog.

    I don't think I completely understood what he was saying until you said it here.

    Yeah, I've done that before, especially in reading the Psalms. There are a lot of "rescue me, save me, heal me, forgive me" parts, but there are also quite a few "repay them for their evil" parts mixed in. And, honestly, they used to confuse me. I'd skim over them thinking, "Okaaay, I'm just gonna read the good parts now."

    But I think I understand it better now. It's not because of the person's desire for people to be punished, it's because they understand that God, who is perfectly just, will punish them. They remember that there are consequences for both good and evil.

    Reading the hard things definitely challenges us more.

  3. Psalms is definitely book where the challenge to read the hard things applies. For me the hard thing in psalms has sometimes been the talk of god seeming so far away because i don't want god to act like that