The Only Bible

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Last night I watched White House Down—for the second time. I had seen it on the big screen last year and when I discovered it was on television I decided to watch it again. Throughout the movie I found myself thinking, “This can’t be the same show! I don’t remember this!”

Granted, my memory isn’t always the best, but honestly, though there were parts that I did remember having seen, most of it seemed new to me. But I also caught myself paying closer attention this time to the details. Perhaps in the back of my mind I did remember the story and now, months later, I had enough background tucked away back there to be able to focus on the nuances. Though there is a limit to the depth of most fiction, whether it be on the screen or in some other form, I would probably find something new in the movie should I ever watch it again.

That same kind of thing happens when it comes to the Scriptures. This time we have a true story with depths that we can only begin to fathom. But every time we read it there is something new that we didn’t notice before. The Bible is a seamless book full of man-made seams called chapters and verses. Exodus 7 is a continuation of what went before it and though Exodus 6 ends with another of Moses’ complaints that no one is going to believe his message because he has a “stumble tongue,” when we get to Exodus 8 we find God’s response to that. But this time the Lord makes a statement that is astounding in its implications.

Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country’” (7:1, 2).

To the man who didn’t feel up to the job, the Lord’s statement was huge. Moses knew that God had called him. He knew that God had given him the ability to do signs and wonders. He was beginning to get a glimpse of the immense power and responsibility that was his. Reduced to its simplest, Moses was the “Bible” that Pharaoh would read. Do you want to know what God is like, Pharaoh? Watch and learn!

Moses was a “stumble tongue” but that didn’t excuse him from speaking the message God had given him. But he did have Aaron at his side, a brother who apparently spoke with more ability than he did. Moses also had the power of God to back up his words and those of his brother.

Never has it been truer than it is today that believers are often the only “Bible” the world reads. While translators work diligently and urgently to put the Scriptures into the languages and dialects of far-flung tribes and nations, we have North Americans who don’t read, and many who can’t read well. The education system has betrayed at least one generation by focusing on the minors and downgrading the majors. Technology has made it easier to access the Scriptures but that doesn’t necessarily mean that people are accessing it more frequently. The multitude of versions, like the multitude of denominations, confuses people and causes them to shy away from the effort of finding the “right” one.

Believers might still be the only “Bible” many will read. The problem becomes what “version” the people who don’t know the Lord are actually reading. For many of those who profess Christ, the Scriptures are equally a mystery. I sometimes get discouraged by the “mis-truth” that believers share that they claim is God’s truth. Their own ignorance of what the Scriptures do, and don’t, teach is frightening. Even from the pulpit, truth sometimes comes with mouldy edges.

Is it possible that even within the ranks of those who profess Christ we have become biblical illiterates? Has the church lost its focus on discovering what God says and replaced the arduous search for truth with futile discussions on what this man thinks and that woman teaches? How can we expect to offer to the world the clear, clean water of eternal life when our own wells are muddy and contaminated?

If, like Moses, we are the only "Bible" that people will read, and we stand in the place of God, we’d better have our proverbial “ducks” in as straight a line as we can get them. If ever the church, the body of Christ, those who call Him “Lord” needed renewal, a return to Him and to His truth, that time might be right now. Only then do we dare expect to be "Bibles" worthy to be read.

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