Know how libraries have banned book months? Where some books just have content that’s too extreme to be allowed? I worked in a library all through high school and college, and the banned books events always fascinated me–mostly because I thought it was ironic that libraries seem to boast about how many banned books they keep in their catalog.
Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of it being banned? Always made me smile.
Have you ever read a banned book? There are lists all over the place, some comprehensive and others not so much.
Well, the Bible is the ultimate banned book. People have died for this book, and that can’t be said of Huckleberry Finn or The Color Purple. Both great stories, but nobody died because they owned a copy.
So why are people afraid of the Bible? What is it about the Bible that scares people so much?
Today’s verses are Ephesians 5:8-14.
For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.
Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible.
The Bible calls itself the Word of God over and over again. All throughout Scripture, the Bible is called light because it is Truth. And the problem with Truth (and Light) is that it reveals what’s hidden in darkness, and revealing what’s done in the dark makes people uncomfortable. It demonstrates that we’re not as good as we think we are, that we need a Savior, that we are not the final decision maker in our own lives, that our lives (in fact) don’t belong to us anyway.
Christ-followers don’t talk about the Bible as much as we should. Maybe that’s because it intimidates us. Maybe that’s because we don’t think it’s relevant. Maybe we’ve never tried. But the fact is, Christ followers know what we know about God from the Bible.
So why don’t more Christians know what’s in the Bible? Honestly, I meet more Christians who know more about reality TV than they do about Scripture. And, believe me, I like entertainment, but the life lessons (worth keeping)that you can pick up on TV didn’t begin on TV. They started in Scripture.
The Bible can be intimidating, that’s for sure, especially if you’ve never tried to read it. But there’s something about the Bible that might make it more interesting, if you think about it.
Whether you believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God or not, you have to recognize how many people have given up their lives or their freedom simply by owning a copy and refusing to give it up.
Regardless of what is written in it, first take into account how it has changed the course of human history, how it has changed the lives of people who read it, and how it seems to terrify governments everywhere. Have you ever thought of that?
Without even mentioning that there exists more evidence to the authenticity and accuracy of the Bible than any other historical manuscript in the world, how it changes people should get you interested in what it’s about. Irrelevant books don’t change people.
(And, yes, the change in people’s lives comes from the power of the Holy Spirit, but you know what I mean.)
If you’re looking for an undeniable source of truth to base your life on, realize how many others have chosen the Bible. Again, I’m not saying you should believe the Bible is truth just because so many others have. But I’m saying you ought to take it seriously. And, if nothing else, it ought to make you realize that reading the Bible isn’t as impossible as people seem to think it is.
Uncounted Christ-followers in the age of the Early Church were murdered for their faith. That hasn’t changed either. More people are killed for their faith today than in ancient times.
I’m not talking about dying for their faith. I’m talking about being murdered for their faith. There’s a big difference there.
People don’t die for coffee table paperweights. These are real people, with real lives, real choices–and they are willing to give up their lives (often in brutal or sadistic ways) rather than give up their faith.
So whether you’re ready to accept what the Bible is or not, at least recognize that it’s more than fairytale. Be willing to really consider it. Be open to researching what it really is and where it came from, who believed it and who died for it, and I think you might surprised.