When I became a Christian, the bible became my best friend. It was when phone functioned as a device to talk to other people, and Bible was made from printed paper. I brought my bible everywhere, and always on my bedside. They say that bible is the only book I will ever need, so that I put away all my good books somewhere. Bible is complete, a guide book for living right, beautiful, satisfying, inspiring, and you can find answers for any life situation. Is that true? Probably this writing will not change you into a better person. It won’t make you more saved. It might not make you understand the Bible better. As a matter of fact, this may offend you as a Christian. But it’s about honesty. It’s not about super spiritual Holy Spirit enlightened rhema. I’ve buried my feelings and opinions about the book, but now is the time to open up. One thing that this short writing might benefit you, is knowing that other person has similar opinion with you, and know that you are not alone. Most people are afraid of their own feeling if the feeling is not politically correct.
They told me to read the bible from Genesis to Malachi, and from Mathew to Revelation in order. I obeyed. Reading New Testament was easier. I could finish it in no time. In reading Old Testament, I’m always stuck somewhere and then stop reading it. Tried again and failed again. Some parts offended my intelligence (if I could say I have some). But one day I found a trick. I literally shut my brain off, and keep reading until I passed some parts of the book. I also try to enjoy the fun parts. I just love this passage. If two men are fighting, then if the wife grabs the other man’s private part, then they should cut off the lady’s hand. I’m not sure how grabbing one’s private part is done in those days. Maybe it’s true that the lady deserve to be cut off. She should’ve kicked his testicle instead of fondling the opponent’s penis. With IMDB format, the Bible would have plenty of goofs, violence and gore would be high, some sex and nudity, profanity, drug and alcohol, and because of those facts, it would be rated MA or R. Not suitable for children under 16.
I like Proverb. I think it’s the best part of the Old Testament. Even psalms, mostly are good, but I don’t quite like the prayer asking God to strike down the psalmist enemy. I know a man that uses this psalm in prayer against his banker that wanted to reposes his car. I enjoy Joshua. God is pictured like our past president when he eradicated communism by killing people involved in the movement all down to the root. It reminds me of the movie “Killing field”, when Pol Pot with his Khmer Rouge murdered women and children. Or to put it in different way, reading Joshua reminds me of Rwanda genocide against the Tutsi. Because I’m on Israel’s side, I would have to say “Hallelujah!” when they killed little girls because their parents chose to raise their family in the desolate land of Canaan. It’s just that I have to pretend. I have to say that God is loving so that He instructed the Israelites to do ethnic cleansing.
The Old Testament reminds me of Rwanda genocide against Tutsi.
Then I read an opinion that suggests God of New Testament is different than God of OT. It provided me a temporary relief. But wait! The person that made the statement also believes in one and only God. So he is a confused guy. God is only one, yet he believes that there is another god, maybe many gods. So I rejected his idea. Some said that God poured out his fumes of anger toward his one and only son, a white holy wrath, so he is not angry anymore. He doesn’t have to punish us anymore, because He, as a just God, has done His obligation to punish us through Jesus. Hmmmm… God is accountable to who? To the blind goddess of justice ? It can’t be true. God is the maker of everything, so He doesn’t have any accountability to anyone else. They also say that God is the same yesterday today and forever. But they also say that even tough He is immutable, His behavior can change. From a vengeful, angry, moody individual, in one single event on Calvary, He became a loving, forgiving, and helpful person, and no other event can ever change Him back to His old behavior. God is always the same but His behavior changed. Hmmmm… How convenient.
They again say something that I like. “The word of God is not the Bible, the word of God is Jesus” Another big relief came to me. Then I started to study in depth the four Gospels. Jesus is a nice guy. Sometimes His words are so sharp, and I like that, since I’m supposed to dislike the scribes and pharasees. When I read about the famous story of the rich young ruler, that in order to gain eternal life he had to sell all of his belonging, that kept me awake many nights. But as I am not very rich, I’m not young anymore, and not a ruler, so Jesus was not talking to me. Happy! But I found some contradiction among the three Gospels. Luke says one thing but Mark or Mathew say differently. “Oh, the are not contradiction, it is called synoptic”. The author look from different angle. Aha! That explains. The two blind men that Mathew saw, looks like one guy from a certain angle where Mark was standing. Because the Bible is to be believed as having no error, now contradiction is called different-perspective. How convenient. Some words like Anthropomorphism; Synoptic; perspective; hyperbola; and more words have nice make-belief meanings that make sense.
So we have some tools of terms, to force an odd peace of a jigsaw puzzle to fit it into the BIG PICTURE. Yes, Big Picture. I like the idea.
I often suggest to people that manage my business, to look at the forest, not the tree. It means that as leaders, they need to be able to see the whole picture of the company, not just the meticulous detail, that they might forget the look and the direction of the business. Then I applied the same principle of -looking at the forest and not the tree- to my Bible understanding. Amazingly, I then began to see the beauty of the big picture. Yes the big picture is beautiful. But it consists of tiny ugly strokes and inconsistent colors, but when you step back a couple of meters away and look, you can see its beauty. But there is even a more beautiful bigger picture than the Bible. An unequal beauty of an image. It is called the image of God of the universe. The Bible is an important piece of a jigsaw puzzle of an image of God. If I may conclude the whole image of God in one sentence, it will be like this. “God loves all human being, and He did everything He can to convince us that He loves us unconditionally”. So He spoke to different groups of people in ways that their culture, values, and way of thinking, can understand and accept His love.
Yes the big picture is beautiful. But it consists of tiny ugly strokes and inconsistent colors, but when you step back a couple of meters away and look, you can see its beauty.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe God is smaller than what I thought, small enough to be put in a box of certain theology or one tiny file on my phone. Or He is bigger than I can ever think. Bigger than he thickest study Bible, bigger than all theological books put together, bigger than the wildest imagination we can ever have. I don’t know that. What I know, is that His love is beyond what we can comprehend.