begin with, Biblical allusions are drenched all over Western
literature, so Biblical ignorance robs you of a huge part of enjoying
good reading. Second, there is enough family dysfunction, brutal
violence, and gripping drama to supply Hollywood with plot lines for
But thirdly and most importantly, in my opinion, is the raw
authenticity of human emotion that is captured in the Bible. If you
were to watch most of us Christians, you would think that to follow
Jesus is characterized by living bland, conservative, and
uninteresting lives. Some Christians might even agree with such a
characterization, adding that as long as they don't get into any
trouble, they're OK with God and God's OK with them.
Except that the experience of the faithful remnant in the Bible is
anything but untroubled. The way in which God's people are carried
through the generations is nothing short of epic. The Psalms and
other places record deeply honest and personal cryings out to God in
the midst of such feelings as vengeance and shame and fear and
longing. Conflict is everywhere, whether in terms of weapons and war,
internal struggling with sin, or outward buttings of heads with
enemies physical and spiritual.
In short, the Bible is a spicy little book. Shame on us Christians
for living it out in such bland ways. And shame on all of us for
defanging it to the point of making it boring. Would that we all
recapture the wonder, the vividness, the flavor in these words. For
not only are they the Word of Life, they're a darn good read.