Isaiah 50:4-9, one of the readings for Holy Wednesday:
The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
5 The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
I have not been rebellious,
I have not turned away.
6 I offered my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
from mocking and spitting.
7 Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame.
8 He who vindicates me is near.
Who then will bring charges against me?
Let us face each other!
Who is my accuser?
Let him confront me!
9 It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me.
Who will condemn me?
They will all wear out like a garment;
the moths will eat them up.
What would you do if you had one week to live? Eugene Cho shares what he would do and then points us to Jesus who bought a donkey, turned over tables, washed dirty feet and got crucified.
The Bible is not a safe book. Sadly it seems many want to make it a safe book, sanitized and fun for the whole family. We then expect the Bible to reinforce what we already think. I love what Tim Gombis says about all of this:
When I began teaching evangelical undergraduates, it wasn’t long before I heard a student say, “I’ve never heard this before.” My first response was, “I know, and there’s so much more to discover!”
But then I heard another variation: “I’ve never heard this before. What you’re saying isn’t biblical.”
I asked for clarification. The student responded by saying, “well, I think there’s a verse somewhere that says something like . . . ,” proceeding to blend together three different passages with the chorus of a praise song.
I figured this sort of thing was just the arrogance of youth, but it began to happen regularly. Just about three weeks into every semester, a student would raise his or her hand and say, “I’ve never heard this stuff before.”
I began to respond by saying, “you’re welcome! You or your parents are paying me thousands of dollars to tell you things that you don’t know. This is what we call ‘education’ and it sounds like I’m doing my job.”
It began to dawn on me, however, that there was something about evangelical culture that was making these students assume that if something was unfamiliar, it was unbiblical.
Often we are more interested in building a wall around the Bible than we are in letting it be what it is.
Along the same lines, here is a list of fifteen myths about Bible translation. The first myth is that word-for-word translation is the best kind. They’re not. And literal translations are not automatically the best.