[From the archives.]
Have you seen this graph? What a great way to depict the most-read books of the last 50 years.
I was expecting to see the Bible at number one, but look at that margin! And I never in a million years would have guessed number two correctly. In fact, some of those books wouldn’t have even entered my mind as making the list at all. For that matter, I’ve never even heard of two of them. Have you heard of them all?
I figure most people have heard of the Bible, but whether people read it is another matter, and (for those who do read it) the way they go about taking in God’s word can be still another matter.
I think of the Bereans, who listened to Paul and Barnabas preach and then fact-checked them against what Scripture itself said. If even the Apostles’ preaching was subjected to such scrutiny, the same applies even more so to those of us who teach and write today.
So if you ever see any discrepancies between what I write and what’s in the Bible, here’s my tip: dump me and go with what the Bible says, please! It’s the noble thing to do.
Then there’s the person who wrote Psalm 119. Now there’s a doozy of a psalm. It’s 176 verses long, and each verse is a shout out in praise of God’s word.
Not only that, but the psalm is divided into stanzas of eight couplets, each couplet within a stanza beginning with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet, each successive stanza employing the next letter, so that the psalmist began the first eight lines with aleph and proceeded to beth for the next eight and so on until reaching taw for the eight couplets of the final stanza.
As C.S. Lewis said in Reflections on the Psalms:
It is a pattern, a thing done like embroidery, stitch by stitch, through long, quiet hours, for love of the subject and for the delight in leisurely, disciplined craftsmanship.
Psalm 119 is nothing less than a love poem to God’s word.
And then there’s Ezekiel’s relationship with God’s word, one that is quite literally visceral:
“But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious people; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”
Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.
And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.
Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. (Ezekiel 2:8-3:3.)
Ezekiel sure knew how to digest the word of God.
Questions to Ponder:
When did you last read the Bible? What part?
What kind of taste did it leave in your mouth? Why?