How do you and the Bible get on? How did your partnership start?
The first Bible I ever had was a small Matthew’s gospel, presented at a Beach Mission in Blackpool. Scripture Gift Mission, if I recall correctly. I did treasure it, but it was full of familiar sounding stories that belonged to another place, another era. It was the stories we heard read out formally at school assembly as part of the predictable diet of reading and hymn. Somehow fossilised.
The first Bible I bought was a a King James version, a ‘biblical’ bible, in a neat hand size, with gold edging. The concordance and maps and index an unexpected bonus. This had the stories in that I had heard read out with quiet intensity, and clearly loved and respected by the people at the local fellowship that I had stumbled among.
It was from the pages of this bible that I first read and listened to things that applied to me. It was from here that meanings of certain passages became clear and dear, and finding the same words at subsequent times found me hearing the same message. In 3D. And like a hologram, you can move around it, it does look slightly different, but the message is the same. Reinforced. Tried and tested.
I suppose these were passages as significant to me as the Rosetta Stone was to those who deciphered the hieroglyphics. Places where I was taught to listen to the Holy Spirit moving over the face of the scriptures and breathing life, and so given eyes to see, and ears to grow familiar with that voice. And to continue to see and hear whenever I look.
This is theological training. The more formal stuff is just a shell where you hope this real stuff happens, or is the opportunity to recognise the truth from unusual angles.
We listened to the CEV translation being read to us this evening – or at least a short snippet. You can listen to and have the whole new testament read to you in 40 half hour chunks. As good as a Radio 4 drama. English or Welsh. http://www.biblesociety.org/support-us/ygtt-2010/ Laptop, ipod or mp3 player. Free.
My preferred choice to read is the NAS now, but always worth checking out The Message.
Whichever you read, discover the burning light.