calendar November 1, 2012 in Roster

From the Deans: Getting Rooted in Scripture


Occasionally, when I’m at my mother’s, I sit down with her and watch “Jeopardy”.  I’m not very good at the game, and some of the topics seem so specialized to me that I wonder how anyone knows the answers.  Every once in a while, though, there is a topic on the Bible.  My ears perk up.  This is my game!   I’m usually disappointed, however, because the questions – for me – are too easy.  Who was married to Adam?  Who threw a rock and killed Goliath?  Doesn’t everyone know the answers to these questions?

"12PlantIt150"One of the teachers in our Nursery School had a questionnaire for the children recently.  Some of the questions they got right.  “What do you think Pastor Simmons does?”  Answer:  “He rides a bike.”  That’s right!  “Someone special was born on Christmas.  Who is it?”  Answer:  “Santa Claus”.

I guess everybody doesn’t know the Bible.

The truth is that people’s knowledge of the Bible just isn’t what it used to be.  

In some ways the Bible is a complicated book.  We believe there is a main point (“God is love” comes close!), but there are thousands of ways of making that point, thousands of sub-points, and even thousands of seemingly contradictory points.  The Bible isn’t really a book anyway.  It’s sixty-six books – “library” is a better description — written over a period of a thousand years.  It includes diverse literature – songs, poems, histories, parables, letters, Gospels, laws, and prophetic writings.  The historical contexts of the various books are extremely diverse, and not always easy to understand.  It’s no wonder that a lot of people have given up.

Here’s the problem:  We can’t give up!  This is our book!  This is where we find the Word of God!   Our Synod is working on a theme this year called “Plant it.  Water it.  Watch it Grow!”  One of the tenets of this theme is being rooted in Scripture.  We’re not going to grow as God’s people unless what we do is based on the teachings of the Bible. 

Still not sure where to start?  Try this:

  1. Read for a few years.  Don’t give up too easily.  If you get stuck on one part, skip to another.  This isn’t all “easy”.  And it will take some time.  There isn’t any simple answer. READ!
  2. Get in a group.  Find some people with whom you can discuss the meaning of the words you are reading.  Take a class.  (If you can find time for “flower arranging” or “yoga”, you should be able to find some time for “Bible.”)  Understanding the Bible isn’t usually easier when you do it yourself.
  3. Stick with the parts that work.  Some people like to read the Bible from cover to cover, but it’s probably best to find the parts that work for you and stick with them.  Read them again.  Dig deeper. 
  4. Keep asking the question:  What is God trying to say to me?

That’s what it means to get rooted in Scripture!


    • Download Word or PDF version to share in your congregation.

The Rev. Gordon Simmons is pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Wallingford, and dean of the Delaware Conference.