Mine for a year…
As part of a school charity auction a friend has recently adopted a word for me. It came with instructions to look after it well, to take it out regularly, and to exercise it with punctuation. The word was…Bible.
It’s a great idea, especially since it raises money for literacy education in other parts of the world. What if I were actually responsible for the word ‘Bible’ for a year, though? What if I were personally responsible for the way it was heard and perceived wherever it went? What if people drew their impressions of the Bible from me?
Of course in one sense all those things are true. As a Biblical interpreter I have a God-given duty to ensure that the Bible is as well understood and absorbed as it can be insofar as I can do anything about it. I may not actually be the adoptive parent of the word “Bible”, but I nonetheless have a huge responsibility towards it. As a preacher who explains it I have a bounden duty to understand it as well as I can – with all the homework that involves. As a preacher who speaks about it on my feet it falls to me to absorb it in silence on my knees. When I stand to preach I must not stand in front of it, obscuring it from view with my clumsy personality. Nor must I stand behind it, neglecting my duty to explain and expound to those who would hear. No, I must stand beside it, pointing out its complex beauty and inviting others to enjoy it.
Thankfully, God is responsible for the Bible – but it is a responsibility he gladly and dangerously shares with preachers like us. are you up for it?