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The Bible is Dangerous

October 1, 2016

I became a Christian at Liverpool University when I was 18. When I did my life changed. It was as if a light had come on, the world had so much more to it. It was now full of meaning, but also love and acceptance: It was full of God. I was 18 so everything was urgent and important and learning about my faith was no exception.

I was baptised in the Spirit which had a further profound affect on me and is something that I will talk about another time. All I want to say today is that being baptised in the Spirit made every thing so much more vibrant still.

One of the things that was so important to me was to find out more about the God to whom I had only just been introduced. I prayed, I fasted but more than anything I read my Bible. I carried my Bible round in my pocket and read it any time that I could sneak a minute or two. Initially I had no guidance so I started at the beginning with Genesis, and worked my way all the way to Revelations. For someone like me who had no experience of religion, no experience of God, this was like exploring a strange new land. Everything was new and different and so real.

These were the recorded experiences of all those people of faith who had gone before me. They had experiences of God and had written them down. I understood some of what I read and other passages just washed over me, but all of it fascinated me. That is what the Bible is like when the Spirit opens your eyes to the wonder of it all.

As St. Paul says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3.16 &17). Those words referred mostly to the Old Testament that Paul and Timothy had been immersed in since birth, but they are just as correctly used to describe the New Testament, including Paul’s own letters.

Scripture, the collection of books that we call the Bible, is God-breathed. The pressurised wisdom squeezed into those pages, or smart-phone memory, makes the Bible like a air tank for us to breathe in the breath of God. With this book we can be like a deep sea diver exploring all the mysteries of the ocean depths. We can be like Jacque Cousteau.

I grew up watching Jacque Cousteau and his team travelling the world and diving down to see amazing reefs, sharks and shoals of fish. It was dangerous and exciting, and just watching was enough to make me want to set out on adventures of my own. As a boy I could never go diving but I did explore the local woods along the banks of the River Tees. I remember swinging out on a tree branch over that rushing and filthy tidal river to get further along the bank. It was dangerous but exciting, and that is what the Bible became, once my eyes were opened.

We cover this book, and read it solemnly in Church, as though it were a pretty ornament to be admired or or a jewel to show off. Indeed, the Bible is to be admired and shown off. But these images make it sound safe and tame – It is not. This book is the very breath of God, given to us through the Holy Spirit.

Through this book God changes lives. It is far from safe. The Bible is more like an incendiary device, just needing a spark from the Spirit before it goes off, before flames flare out and cover us; burning away all that is not of God. That is what this book is, or more accurately, that is what the Spirit uses this book to do.

So, please be careful. Don’t open that book, don’t what ever you do pay attention in Church, or the words may catch you, the Spirit may burn out and you? – Well let’s just say the Spirit will burn and you and I will be changed beyond all recognition.

The Bible is dangerous – Are you brave enough to open it and read. Go on – I dare you!

I am away today but from my conference I still say – Go on – I dare you!

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