SHAKY ANSWERS

This spring our church had a yard sale to raise money for VBS. As item after item began to accumulate before the big day I thought I might just rummage through some of the stuff and see if I might find a presale special. It wasn’t long until I came across a familiar item that I had as a child, the Magic 8-Ball. In case you aren’t familiar with this iconic toy, allow me to refresh your memory. The ball itself looks like a large black 8-ball used in billiards, except that this ball is larger and is filled with a dark liquid that gives cover to its contents: A small three-dimensional triangle has phrases on each surface such as “Signs Point to Yes,” “Don’t Count on It,” “You May Rely on It”, “Yes,” or “Definitely.” You’re to hold the 8-ball in your hands while asking a question, shake it and then wait in breathless anticipation for the answer to appear. Of course, if you were like me and the answer wasn’t one you liked, you would shake the ball again until a better answer appeared.

Many Christ-followers mistakenly take the same approach with the Bible. It’s called the “Dipstick Method” of reading God’s Word. They have a question, open the Bible, and point their finger on a verse and pull back out a response claiming it as their answer from God, that is, as long as they like the answer. Here’s the problem, the Bible isn’t a Magic 8-Ball nor is God a “Genie in a Book” that seeks to serve us and grant our wishes.

The Bible is an amazing book. It is a collection of God-inspired, God-breathed letters, writings, poems, songs, history, prophecy, judgment and more. It was written over hundreds of years by over forty different authors ranging from kings to shepherds, fishermen and a recovering Pharisee. It is God’s love letter to the world. The Apostle Paul wrote of the comprehensive nature of the sacred Scriptures stating, “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man or woman of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16).

The early Christ-followers in Berea were on the right track. They valued the Scriptures and were highly praised because they studied them daily. Paul also stated that we are to do our best to present ourselves to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). May the Christ-followers who come after us be able to look at our lives and similarly speak well of us for our commitment to God’s Word.

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