How would counsel either a new Christian or a Christian newly committed to reading the Bible?
How would you counsel them to build a practice of reading God’s Word? I would say that the Word of God is a pedative--which means you grow in appetite for it. When I first took a sip of coffee I didn’t like coffee. I didn’t know much about coffee and it didn’t taste the way it smelled. It smelled great and it tasted kinda bitter. But I thought I’d keep drinking it and see if I liked it. Well, I drank more of it and now I’m a connoisseur I could tell you different blends of coffee and different brands of coffee. I’m willing to expend considerable time and resources to have the kind of coffee I want and enjoy. It’s the same with the Word of God. You start out and it feels strange. It’s a very strange world. It’s like going into a world that is connected to ours but isn’t. It doesn’t tell us what we already know, otherwise we wouldn’t need it. It’s rearranging our categories, changing the fundamentals, and bringing us into a story.
What’s one thing you’ve learned after reading the Bible for many years that you wish you’d known when you began?
I think it would be the important of understanding the big overarching story. For those of us that grew up in the church we got taught Bible stories, or we had christian parents and we sat on their lap and heard Bible stories. And you can begin to think that this is a collection of stories. Well, it is, but the bigger issues is that it’s one big story of creation and fall and redemption and consumation, of what God was doing and is doing in Christ for us. You’ve got to put the little stories in the big story. That’s the way I’d say I would’ve wanted to read the Bible differently as a 13 year old, as a 23 year old, as a 33 year old had I seen how this individual story fits into the big story.