Is the Bible Worth Reading?
Mary looked up at her daughter Stephanie. “Hi, Sweetie. How was your first day of college?”
“Awesome, Mom! One interesting thing happened.”
“What’s that?” asked Mary. She stopped sorting laundry so she could give Stephanie her full attention.
“Well, I learned that the university has a multicultural education policy.”
Stephanie laughed. “Yeah, I was confused at first, too. It means that the school embraces all opinions and beliefs as equal, so that everyone feels welcome.”
“May I read the policy?”
As Mary read through the short statement, warning bells went off in her head. “Stephanie, it says here that it’s your responsibility … as a citizen of the university community … to celebrate the beliefs, truth claims, and lifestyles of all persons.”
She stopped reading and looked up. “That sound biblical to you?”
“Mom, it’s college, not church. It sounds fair.”
“Your being fair doesn’t worry me, Stephanie,” sighed Mary. “It’s that you’ll be an ineffective witness for Christ. You’re taking your bible to campus, right?”
“Mom! I’m not going to be one of those Christians!”
Why Read the Bible, Anyway?
Face it, it’s never been cool to be a Christian. We appear to be so narrow-minded. Too, we’ve picked up the reputation as being “intolerant” bible-thumpers, always ready to whip out the holy book to defend the cause of Jesus.
Hmmm, let’s get real for a second.
How many times has anyone (beyond the walls of your church) ever bothered to witness to you … or thump you over the head with their bible? (And no fair counting those “bullhorn Christians” at public events who seem hell-bent on scaring people into heaven.)
So how many? None? One? Or maybe just two, if you count that pair of Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses that came knocking at your door. Though I can’t endorse their theology, I can respect their commitment to share their beliefs.
We Christians are supposed to be telling the world about our love for Jesus. But witnessing, especially in our current anti-God culture, makes many Christians cringe. Especially when we know we’re going to get tough questions, such as ‘If God is love, why doesn’t he fix all the hate in the world?” It’s not our job to know why God does what he chooses to do. We are to simply trust in His sovereignty and love for us.
Like Stephanie, many Christians don’t feel up to the task of representing Jesus. One reason for that is that their spiritual foundation is weak. Some Christians have never opened a bible. They only hear bible verses when their pastor or priest shares them during sermons. Others casually glance at their bible from time to time, typically when they’re experiencing trouble or pain.
“The bible is boring,” say some Christians. “It’s old and dusty, not relevant to current life,” say others. They’re actually incorrect, on both accounts. But you have to spend time in the word to begin to love and cherish its wisdom. The bible is also full of details about what Jesus said and did while he was here on earth. By not studying the bible, Christians can’t come to know Jesus, or have the strength and stability to live the life of joy he wants for us.
Not reading your bible, dear Christian, is a bit like strapping on a parachute without learning how to open it at the right altitude … right?
It’s not that Stephanie doesn’t care about the souls of her fellow classmates. She does. But sticking her neck out, after being given the school guideline to not appear “intolerant,” could make her freshman year stressful. Does she really want that? Is it worth it standing out for Jesus?
Only Stephanie can decide that. Peer pressure often keeps us quiet about our beliefs. Yet Jesus calls us to brave action. He told us first to love, and then to share the “good news.” The world wants us to keep quiet about Jesus, to make us ashamed of our “narrow-mindedness” in believing that he is the way, the truth, and the life. That through the giving of his life, we gained complete freedom.
Jesus never forced anyone to listen to him, believe in him, or follow him. But he also never shied away from having the conversation. With the power of his word in our heart and minds, we can do the same. We need to do so with love and respect and humility. Never arrogance. That, we can agree with non-Christians, would be “intolerant.” Let them know us by our love.
Our youth need to know the bible. If they don’t, they surely won’t know when God’s truth is being twisted and misrepresented and repackaged as “truth.” This week, as a family, crack open God’s word. Commit to regular reading, both independently and as a family, as part of a daily devotional. Perhaps even challenge one another to memorize a new bible verse every week.
Also know that our Constitution still protects our religious freedom of expression. God most definitely can part of the school experience, even in high school. For more information on that, check out First Liberty Institute’s Religious Liberty Protection Kit for Students and Teachers.
This blog post has been adapted from the book The Beauty of Intolerance, by Josh and Sean McDowell. To purchase a copy of this helpful parental resource, please visit our Store page.