A seminary graduate was seeking to become pastor of his very first church, and he finally landed an interview with a pastor search committee. In a small room in the back of the church the young student met the committee.
The chairman of the committee began the questioning: “Young man, do you know your Bible?” The seminary student replied, “Yes sir I do. I’ve spent years studying the Bible. I know it from front to back.”
“Well, do you know the stories and the parables of Jesus?” the chairman asked. “If so, tell us one of his parables. Tell us the parable of the Prodigal Son.” And so the young man stood to speak, and it went like this:
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Moses, who demanded of his father his inheritance. He went down to Egypt by night and he fell into a lions den. But the lions did not harm him, because he took five loaves and two fishes and fed them.
“And when he came to his senses he arose, and climbed up into a sycamore tree along the road, because he was a wee little man. The next day David and Goliath came by, two by two, and seeing him, they had compassion on him and carried Moses down to the Jordan River to be baptized.
“And there, Moses walked on the water, until he saw the waves and the storm, and a great fish prepared by the Lord, came and swallowed him whole. And Moses lived in the belly of the whale for forty days and nights. Afterwards, this same Moses was converted on the Damascus Road, when an angel of the Lord came upon him, and the glory of the Lord shone round about him, and he was sore afraid.
“The angel said unto him, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry.’ So Moses offered the fatted calf as a sacrifice on the burning bush. And the fragments that remained were enough to fill twelve baskets.”
With that, the satisfied young seminarian wiped his brow, and was dismissed while the committee deliberated their decision. The committee chairman said, “Folks, I think we ought to call this man as our pastor. I know he’s young, but he sure knows his Bible.”
I wonder, do we really know our Bibles? I’m not talking about recounting the stories or reciting the books in order or playing Bible drill. Nor am I talking about using all the buzz words we have been taught to use to defend the Bible; words like inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility and maybe a few more.
All these, more often than not, turn the Bible into a checklist or a spiritual encyclopedia that just contains facts. We end up with a lot of information, but end up in danger of missing the point. Foy you see, the Bible is not the end. It is the means.
The Bible is a pointer; a directional arrow. It is a marker on life’s road, a marker that God has given us, showing us the way to something, to someone else. The goal of Scripture is not to give you information about God. It is to bring you face to face with God, through his Son, Jesus, and the love he has for us.
Christians accept the Bible as a holy book because we believe that God actually spoke through the lives, experiences, and writings of those who have gone before us, to communicate and to reveal to us Jesus. He is its subject matter.
Everything before him is prelude and introduction, everything we read about him is gospel, and everything we read after him is reflection and explanation. So, the truth of the Bible isn’t numbered and categorized verses. It isn’t statement of systemized theological fact. Truth, ultimately, is not even quoted words from a book. Truth is a person. His name is Jesus.