On Reading the Bible: Finding the Center of the Story

In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller says this about how many Christians read the bible:

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

“At this point in the story [speaking of the numerous accounts where God’s people have profoundly screwed up], many contemporary readers may be wondering: “Where are all the spiritual heroes in this story? Whom am I supposed to be emulating? What is the moral of the story?” The reason for our confusion is that we usually read the Bible as a series of disconnected stories, each with a “moral” for how we should live our lives. It is not. Rather, it comprises a single story, telling us how the human race got into its present condition, and how God through Jesus Christ has come and will come to put things right.”

Often times it is hard to preach sermons from the bible that end up being Christocentric because we don’t ourselves fully understand how they are Christocentric. We are surrounded in our western culture with a fair amount of “hero-worship”, whether they are actors, media spectacles, sports personalities, or  even pastors.

So it isn’t surprising that we bring our persistent tendency to make do and get by to the scriptures and settle. The problem is, we don’t settle. We look at the accounts of the people of the Bible and beat ourselves up as to why we couldn’t have enough faith, perform the miracles, hear from God, see the glory, experience the signs, or just all in all get it right.

The real tragedy is that in much of our preaching in the church we bring to people a picture of the bible that simply screams “you would be a much better Christian if only your life looked like [Paul, Peter, James, John, David, Abraham, Moses, Noah, etc.]”

I think that the real work of a sermon is to find the redemptive thread in it, and show our people how it connects to Jesus. But that first means that as pastors, our hearts have to have connected with Jesus in the text before we can bring anyone else to that point.

I am a pastor, a husband, a father, and a lover of Jesus. I am also an unpredictable blogger, who can go for several years without blogging a thing, and then inexplicably write a book. Perhaps this is one of those times.

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Posted in Commentary, For Pastor's

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