The most important book in the world is the Bible. The most important part of my job is teaching the Bible.
Some parts of the Bible really don’t need an explanation.
Leviticus tells us we are prohibited from eating buzzards and vultures. (Leviticus 11:12-13) If you have to have an explanation as to why you shouldn’t eat a buzzard or vulture, you’ve got some serious issues.
Other parts of scripture need much more of an explanation.
When Peter asks Jesus if he needs to forgive seven times and Jesus responds with seventy-seven times, does that mean you don’t have to forgive the seventy eighth time? (Matthew 18:21-22)
This has to be explained. That’s why Bible studies exist.
My favorite Bible study is the Thursday morning group. Because it is during work hours, this study is made up of retirees and homemakers. It’s a very rough and entertaining crew. I never know what they are going to say.
My only complaint with the Thursday group is I always let them choose what book they want to learn. This has come back to bite me on more than one occasion.
The first time I offered to teach any book in the Bible, Ray insisted on learning the book of Ecclesiastes. Even though I fought against it, the class loves Ray, so they voted with him. My heart sunk through the floor because Ecclesiastes always sends me into fits of depression.
The message in Ecclesiastes is, you are born, work incredibly hard, and die. That’s it!
Now there is the one section in chapter three that talks about there being a time for everything. That’s pretty good. Also, there are some other nuggets, but they are few and far between.
The only person I’ve ever met who really likes Ecclesiastes is Chris. That tells you all you need to know about Chris.
The only other redeeming thing in the entire book is the very end that says we are to love God and keep God’s commandments. I’m good with that.
After teaching Ecclesiastes, I should have learned my lesson, but I have a very short memory.
A few weeks ago, we finished one book and it was time to start another. I had already ruled out anything Ray suggested.
Before I remembered the Ecclesiastes debacle, I said, “What book would you like to learn next?” Kay, who has a beautiful soul, said, “Let’s study Isaiah!” My heart dropped through the floor – not because it isn’t a great book – it is. The only problem I have with Isaiah is its length.
Because of time constraints, I only teach one chapter each week. Isaiah has sixty-six chapters. This meant I would be teaching Isaiah for the next hundred years.
I tried to talk everyone into voting for a shorter book, but they all think Kay hung the moon, so I knew it was a lost cause.
So, for the next one-hundred and forty-eight years, I will be teaching the book of Isaiah. I’m good with that.
The Bible matters more than any other book because it tells us about God’s redemptive acts through Jesus and how we are to live in response to God’s gift of grace. The Bible gives us comfort and peace in the midst of the storms of life. The Bible gives us guidance in making right decisions in a confusing world. The Bible calls us back from the brink of living a self-consumed life, to living a holy, fulfilled life serving the only One who makes life worth living. That’s why I teach it.
As an old, seasoned pastor speaking to a young, inexperienced pastor, Paul said to Timothy, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (1 Timothy 3:16)
If you feel there’s something missing in your life, start reading the Bible. The hole in your soul will be filled and you will experience balance in a shaky world.
Prayer: Gracious Heavenly God, thank you for your loving, guiding words in scripture. Please speak to me through your book. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
If you want to truly know scripture, come to one of our church’s Bible studies. It will be my tremendous honor and privilege to teach you.
If you are reading this devotional but not part of FUMC Temple, attend one of your church’s Bible studies. I know your pastor would consider it an honor and privilege to teach you. That’s what we do.
Also, if you would like to support the children and youth ministries or our church by buying a book of Daily Devotionals, the second printing is to be delivered today. Call the church office at (254) 773-5269 and Ellie will take care of all the details.
Just for the record, the books make great Christmas gifts.
I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.