Though the content of the Bible is unchanging, how we relate to God’s Word differs based on our life experiences. For former InterVarsity staff Pete Hammond (1937-2009), the Bible felt like six different books in his faith journey. Below is one way he learned to engage Scripture:
In recent years, my Bible has been a place where I find real friends, and get to read their personal faith diaries, like Matthew, who had an addiction problem with money; Lydia, who sought God while launching a retail clothing business; Noah, who shared my Dad’s problem with alcohol; Adam and Eve, who knew severe pain and disappointment with their children; Barnabas, who seemed to be able to care for needy and dangerous people in the early church; Joseph, who suffered abandonment from his family only to be able to re-unite them all late in life; Mary, who knew the trauma of a teen-age pregnancy; and John the Baptist, who was a unique and socially inconvenient chap.
I met real people who live in struggling families and experience difficult, everyday jobs. They are not distant super saints who we can only admire from a distance but never emulate. I slowly realized that I am not the worst follower that ever stumbled, fell, and started over, only to err again, and again. I found that I have companions or soul-mates from whom I can learn by reading their diaries in Scripture. That gift is very special to me as an adult-child-of-alcoholics, who are known for our loneliness and who hunger for intimate companions.
Thanks be to God for continual growth and new horizons of eternal life being developed here on earth as it will be in heaven! Lord, help me engage others where they are in their journey and appropriately add to that experience.