1/25/15 Danny about 22
A liberal arts undergrad student named Danny agreed to have a discussion about his views on life after death, and I found a unique situation – although he is an agnostic who has had very little exposure to the Christian faith, he told me he will nonetheless be reading a large percentage of the Bible as part of the requirements of his college, which focuses on firsthand readings of the various “great books” of history, rather than just reading about them in textbooks. Thinking about Danny reading the Bible for himself gave me hope, but I knew it would be from a critical, academic point of view –- the Bible as literature - which is entirely different from reading it as the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” This means that when we read the Bible, we must expect it to change us – to have our thoughts and actions exposed – to allow it to judge us rather than to stand in judgment of it. To read the Bible as simply one of the great books of history, to critique it only as a collection of literary works, will give Danny an entirely different perspective, one the Bible wasn’t meant for. The Bible consistently claims throughout that it speaks God’s words – some 3800 times – and one can only experience it as it was meant if it is read with an attitude of faith and humility. Still, I thought, reading it from the wrong perspective must be better than not reading it at all, so I was disappointed when I checked out his school’s website and saw that the Bible isn’t actually included on its required reading list. This despite the fact that there was no other book on that list that has had more of an impact in history, and that a large percentage of the other “Great Books” on the list are based on the Bible and/or presuppose Biblical literacy! If for no other reason than being a well-rounded educated person, the Old and New Testaments must be taken seriously and read for oneself rather than just reading the opinions of others about it.. So Danny, if you read this, I challenge you, read the Bible for yourself, even if your professors decided not to include it on your required reading list!