There are many ways to describe the Bible, but I want to focus on one way in particular. Some people seem to focus on it as an historical text. Without a doubt, this is true. At the same time, some aspects of the meaning of the Bible are lost when viewed solely through that lens. I know that the wording I am going to use might cause concerns, but I hope you read to the end to see if I redeem myself.
The lens through which I am suggesting to view the Bible is through the lens of myth. By myth, I don’t mean an old view of pagan religions on the world, but through its more general definition of traditional stories about the roots of people and their view of the world. If this definition offends your senses, which it did mine until I stopped and pondered it, then substitute the word with “metaphor.” I just think that a part of what I’m trying to say is lost in the word metaphor.
So, the Bible can be defined as a compilations of stories defining a history of a people; a story that tells us somethings about God. In particular, the stories of the Bible tell us about God’s revelation to his people. It contains stories of love, even of the imperfect. It includes stories of how God wants his people to respond to him. One cannot fully understand the entire Bible without understanding the complete compilation from Genesis to Revelations.
Why am I focused on this aspect? There are several reasons, but most importantly is that I want to encourage those who do not already do so to as these types of questions, “what is God revealing to me about our relationship?” “How does this enlighten my faith journey?” For instance, what does the story of Moses have to do with me? It is an historical event. This is true, but it also tells us about God and how he cares for his people. It tells us how he cares for us. He delivers us from slavery to sin. He leads us on a path to greater dependence on him; he leads us to the Promised Land. The life of a Christian is a journey. There is a lot to learn about ourselves in hearing the Israelites complain about missing their leeks and onions; their desire to return to slavery for the known over the unknown. To learn about the allure of things of this world over the goal of completing the journey well.
Spend some time today asking the Holy Spirit to reveal his wisdom to you. Either ponder a favorite story in the Bible or open the book to a verse and start to read. Ask yourself how this historic text can teach you more about who God is and what he wants to share with you today. Whether you find this wisdom in your first attempt or not, praise God, and thank him for the time he spent with you and for the grace to have been present to him. Ask him to continue guiding you along the narrow path of living more fully in his Kingdom today.
Ms. Debra D. Weldon, OP, MTS