It’s not a new headline—but it’s probably still true: “Bible Most Owned, Least Read Book in History.” I stopped counting the copies in our house when I hit twenty—and that was just the English versions. I won’t confess how much time we do or do not spend reading the Bible, but I assure you, it’s not proportional to how many copies we have.
Most people who read my blog have a level of respect for the Bible—whether you study it personally, attend a church where it is preached, or simply have fond childhood memories of places you learned some of its stories—Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, or Christian camp. If you don’t think much of the Bible, you are probably still aware that it’s had a profound influence on the history of humanity.
But the strange thing is that most of us know very little about the book itself—beginning with the simple question “Where did it come from?” Some of you might say, “Well, it’s from God.” Period. Okay, but how? How did God write a book that sits on my shelf? Why is that book in English? And Spanish? And Tagalog? And Russian? And Mandarin? How did God write one book that I read in the NIV and you read in the King James? If you don’t think God wrote it, who did—and why? And why do so many people care about a dusty old book? Why—and how—has it survived all these millennia?
These aren’t small questions, and we shouldn’t be content with small answers. If you bank your life on what the Bible says, I encourage you educate yourself on the history of the book itself. If you think it’s a historical artifact with little relevance for today, I encourage you to explore what the Bible says, why people revere it, and how it came down to us.
Maybe 2021 can be your year to learn about the Bible. I’ll be offering an online class in January–March on Thursday evenings from 6:00–8:00 p.m. (Central) called The Bible Explored. It will introduce you to the massive book that contains the greatest story ever told. In eight weeks (with a week off midway), we’ll discuss what makes the Bible such a unique book, and we’ll consider how we should (and shouldn’t) read it.
This course requires a commitment—financially and otherwise—but I think you’ll find it worth the investment. Sure, you could learn this information elsewhere—and perhaps cheaper—but will you bother? The accountability and community offered by the structure of a course mean you might actually learn what you set out to learn (…speaking from lots of personal experience).
If you want to know more, I’ve included the link to the course registration page and the course description from the syllabus below. And you can always contact me with specific questions.
I’d love to have you join us!
Course Description: This course introduces participants to the origin, development, and characteristics of the Bible and to an interpretative method that respects the Bible’s nature as God’s word to his people in the ancient Mediterranean world but for people of every time and place. Participants will read a textbook on the Bible’s history and will also be invited to read/skim as much of the Bible itself as they are able. Journal questions will guide reflection on the content of the course, as well as the impact of the Bible in participants’ lives. Participants will join in a weekly online small group for learning and reflection. These class sessions will revolve around PowerPoint presentations and discussion of the week’s topics.