This morning I spent an hour wandering the aisles of WalMart while I had the oil changed in my van. Here’s a shopping tip for you: you can beat the back-to-school craziness by shopping at Wal Mart at 8 AM on a Saturday morning. I very nearly had the place to myself!
As I wandered I came across the electronics section where they sell electronics (obviously) but also video games, DVDs and so on. One DVD in particular caught my eye. I do not remember the title, but right below the title were the words “bringing the Bible to life.” I picked it up, took a quick look, and tossed it back on the shelf. I still don’t really know what it was. I suspect it was a DVD-based multimedia experience that was intended to help bring the Bible to life. It made me think of a ministry I saw not too long ago, and their description was almost exactly the same: “bringing the word of God to life.”
There is just one problem with that: the Bible doesn’t need us to bring it to life. If the Bible depended on us to bring it to life I would want to part of it.
Remember that rather awful movie Titanic? What was it that made the movie so popular? Some would say it was the romantic story that made so many people break down and cry. When the movie released I was working next door to a brand new, state-of-the-art theatre that showed Titanic all day and all night. I saw all sorts of people come into the store after seeing the movie. Some had red eyes and some even continued to sob. I was amazed at how that movie caused so many people to break down and weep. But I digress. What made the movie so popular? I think a large part was that it brought history to life. Everyone who remembers what happened on the Titanic is dead. The events had long-since been relegated to the history books when James Cameron decided to make the film and bring that small piece of history to life. We all got to see what the Titanic looked like, got to meet some of the people who were on it and got a glimpse of life in that day. In that regard it was fascinating. In that regard he made something that was dead to us come to life, even if the life was only 3 hours long.
History is like that, isn’t it? History is dead. History books are dead. They may be interesting and can provide all sorts of great information, but they’re dead. But not so the Bible.
The Bible says of itself “the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) From that passage, do we see God telling us to bring life to His word? Is it our task to take the dead words of the Bible and make them alive, to make them more interesting or to make them more appealing? Clearly not! Jesus tells us that “the words I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63) How can we bring life to something that is already alive? And why would we want to replace Scripture’s immortal life with the mortal life we experience on earth. Imagine perverting God’s perfect word with our imperfection!
Will you try to bring life to God’s word? You will fail. You must fail, for the word is alive before you even begin to breathe your life into it. Do not try to bring life to the word. Bring the word. That is enough.