by: Rev. Alex Molozaiy, Pastor
“I believe in Jesus and I know I want to be involved in church, but I just don’t know much about the Bible. I’ve tried reading it, but I don’t know… I just get bogged down and find that it’s not making a lot of sense to me.” Maybe you can relate to the person who recently made this confession to me. Not too long ago, I probably confessed the same thing to my pastor. Most of us hold the Bible in a place of honor – safely on a bookshelf where it can’t be disturbed, or disturb us! Truth be told: the Bible is a complex book, written over a period of 1,000 years in languages that are not our own by a bunch of different authors for a wide variety of purposes to at least as many different audiences. It’s no wonder that we struggle to read it, much less understand what the Bible has to say to us.
This year as we turn our congregational focus toward becoming a “Learning Community,” one of my personal goals as pastor and teacher is to promote our knowledge and understanding of our Bible, growing our confidence in the God to which it witnesses and in our ability to use it in extending that witness to others. We may be all-too-familiar with the ways the Bible has been used to beat others down, but not enough how the texts tell of God’s abiding love for all and concern for justice. In coordination with our Growth and Christian Education board, I’ll be planning a few different opportunities for us to better know our Bible and increase our confidence in its interpretation.
In the meantime, I’ll share this bit of insight (and a challenge) with you: every believer has their own ‘Bible-within-a-Bible’; these are stories, passages, and verses which hold greater authority and meaning for them over others. Even if you don’t think you know the Bible well, I’m guessing that there is at least some part of it that’s important to you or you wouldn’t likely be reading this. What are those for you and, more importantly, why? What is it about those stories that you find especially powerful and authoritative? Who or what ideas are empowered by those texts? Whose (or what) is limited? Asking these questions is the beginning of true Bible study. So, take that Bible off of that shelf and start asking questions. You may find that the God to whom it’s trying to direct you is closer than you think!