God and Scripture
Is the Bible just another book or is it the written word of God? What can the Bible reveal about God's character? The Curiosity Collective brings together thought leaders, subject matter experts, pastors, and theologians to explore the relationship between God and Scripture.
Questions for Discussion and Personal Reflection
- What biases—positive or negative—do you have about the Bible?
- Do you think the Bible is still relevant to life today? If so, what areas of your life might the Bible impact?
The Bible is, really, an amazing, you know, collection of literature, of poetry, of history, of genealogy and, um, you know, it would fit into many genres if you were to put it, you know, in a library. Um... But at the heart of what the Bible is, it's, you know, it's writing, it's literature, it's an art. What's interesting is in the last, you know, half-century, last century, uh, the Western Church I think with the rise of left-brain activities and science, it's trying to force it into the category of a text book, but if that's the end, you kind of miss the point of you know, what the Bible's supposed to be. When my wife and I first started dating, uh, in the early nineties we didn't have, uh, email, we didn't have cell phones, and... what we did was we kept this journal, and I would keep it for a week, write in it, she would keep it for a week, write in it, uh, and we had it for months. I filled up the last pages, put it in the mail, uh, and then sent it to her. Uh, and it got, it got lost in the mail, and so we don't have that book anymore, and I've told my— I have two boys— I've told my, uh, sons about this book and you know, hypothetically if one day I'm gone and then they stumble onto this book, um I don't think they're going to be asking about the reliability of this book or I don't think they're gonna use it like a textbook. I think they're gonna read it. Um, I think they're gonna find out what their mom and dad was like. Uh, they're gonna find out how cheesy, uh, they were unfortunately, um, and I- I think they'd, they'd find a person and they'd find beauty, and I think at the heart of Scripture, uh, that's what it's supposed to be. Um... when you read it, when you engage it, uh, the personification of the text, uh, comes, comes to life.
There are so many questions I don't know the answers to and I don't get, but if I wanted to know what Jesus was like, I— it was all there. I was one of those people who really wrestled with it. I studied the Bible in, in its original languages I looked at everything from creation through to some of the horrible, horrible bits in Judges with the genocides and all these horrible things, which which, um, happened. Um... and so it, it wasn't, like, "oh, I picked up a book and it was easy." Um... but I looked at this incredible library of books, this— these 66 books and, and I saw, um... I saw him and, and I... I like what he's about. I like the way he lifted up the dirty. I like the way he, um— I like how he treats people. I like how he doesn't forget people. Um... I like the crazy miracles, and I like the healings and the life transformations. Um... and— and as a historical document, I know it's a serious book. If we're gonna be technical, it's a serious book. Um... It's an incredible work of literature that has lasted millennia. Um... most of what we read, whether it be Shakespeare and all these people have drawn ideas and creativity and art from this influential book so, yes, I love it because it's an influential book, um, and I loved reading it, and I loved discovering it in its original languages, because so much is lost in translation in an ordinary book, but, um, what makes me keep on reading this interesting book is because it introduced me to Jesus and, um, I can't— I don't get bored about reading what he's like. I— I don't get tired of it. When my friends ask me if it's worth reading, I'm like, "Yeah of course it's worth reading. Um... Just give it a go. Just have a look. Have a look at him and see what you think." That's what I always say.
My wife and I started a church in our living room for people who have questions, and the explosive growth over the last two years, people have asked, "What's the secret? What's the marketing strategy to that?" and... I think one of the big secrets is we just give people a Bible and just say, "Listen, let us help you on this journey." And... the word Bible just means books so this isn't one book. It's actually 66 different books. The Old Testament is just the story of a nation, and the New Testament is the story of this man— this god-man— that came out of this nation. So you have 39 books in the Old Testament. First 17: history of the nation. The next 5 starts with Job, goes over to Ecclesiastes. That's poetry about the nation. Last 17: prophecy, mostly prophecy about this one— Jesus— this king who would come, and then you get to the New Testament. So if you look at the New Testament, you've got the first four books. They're called gospels. Then you've got the book of Acts: just the history of the early church. After Acts, you've got these letters, and there's 21 of them written by different people to different people. And then the book of Revelation: prophecy about Jesus coming back and the end of time. I start in the book of John. I mean, Jesus, uh, picked a guy named John who was a teenager so John was very young when he started following Christ. He writes about that. And then after John, I go to James. Uh, James is a great practical book. Just, just read that and, and then maybe Philippians. Um... and just remember one thing: the Bible was not necessarily written just for information; it was written for transformation. Uh... I really believe that a verse, a word, will really, uh, jump out at you, and God will really speak and you'll be amazed at how relevant this book will become to your life.
In the midst of a lot of things that are brand-spanking new and all the digital technologies that we have, I look at something like the Bible, which is ancient scripture and, and how it might bring meaning to our lives today. And listen, we're living in a very skeptical age. People have a lot of questions about the Bible. They have a lot of reasons I think, uh, to, to, to wonder whether it has meaning, um, and, and even sort of like what it, what it's all about. I, I think about my own son, uh, Zack, who— when we were talking to him about the fact that God has, has, has sort of, like, everything he provides for us, and we even use the phrase for his small little brain, we've said that God has millions and trillions of dollars— and, uh, he immediately asked, uh, me and my wife if that was because God has sold so many Bibles. And I just thought that was, like, so funny and so clever and, and it illustrates the sort of, like, innate skepticism that some of us have towards, uh, organized religion and towards, even towards scripture. Um, and, and the one thing that I, I guess I could say about it, um, I mean, there's a lot of great theologians and, and others who could talk about, um, you know, the Bible and why it might be trustworthy, but I think, um, I think the thing for me that, that has been interesting as a leader, as a, a person who's been trying to build a business and trying to think about my own, my own leadership, I've been amazed at the different places in Scripture, um, in Proverbs and in Ecclesiastes and in different portions of it that, that, that bring me a sense of clarity about what it means to be a leader, to, to, to be a human and, um, I— I've just been surprised over and over again that, that the pages of the Bible have particular things to say to us about our families, about our businesses, about our souls that, that can actually not just help us because the Bible isn't just sort of like a, a manual so that you can feel better about yourself, but it actually it actually comes to speak into my life about my relationship to money, about leadership, about my lust, about my, my relationship to others, about my, my thinking about people who don't share the same faith as I have and, and I think that we can begin to look at the Bible in, in maybe a new way, that it, it isn't, it isn't just something we pull out at church or it's something for us to, to bring our skepticism to— toward, but it actually might give us wisdom and discernment for living in a complex age and, and to me that's been one of the most helpful things about, about rediscovering the Bible.