They say that familiarity breeds contempt.
Do you think this is true of the Bible as well?
If you become so familiar with a particular passage or book of the Bible, does there come a time in your life when you groan to hear yet another sermon on that passage, or when you are reading through the Bible in a year, you just hurry through that section because you are so bored by it?
I don’t think this has ever happened to me, and I hope it never does.
But then, I also believe that the Bible is infinitely fascinating.
I am convinced that no matter how much we study or learn about a book of the Bible, a passage of Scripture, or even a particular verse, there is always more to learn.
To me, every passage and verse of the Bible is like a fractal image. Each verse and passage is unique and beautiful by itself, but no matter how much you zoom in (or zoom out) on it, it continues to change and grow in beauty and complexity.
When viewed this way, I don’t think we can ever get bored by the Bible.
Nevertheless, I do think that there are some passages and books of the Bible which most of us think we know pretty well, and whether we realize it or not, we inwardly groan when we hear our pastor say, “Turn in your Bibles to [insert well-known passage here].”
For example, I think the book of Jonah is one of those books. Here is a story most of us have been hearing since we were kids. We have read various versions of the story 1000 times to our own kids. We have heard pastors preach on it. We have seen animated movies about it. We have told the story in Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, short-term mission’s trips, and children’s church. When the missionary speaks at the Mission’s Conference, he preaches from Jonah.
So sometimes, when we hear “Turn in your Bible to the book of Jonah,” not only do we keep our Bibles closed, we zone out completely to what the speaker is saying, and let our mind wander off to the problems at work, who is going to win the football game, or what our neighbor said to us last week.
But I am convinced that when we get bored with a text, this is often because we think we have learned all there is to know about it. However, what is usually the case is that we have barely scratched the surface of the beauty and wonder that is in the text, and if we just dug a little deeper, beauty and wonder would begin to emerge.
This is especially true of Jonah.
Which is why I am so thrilled to begin writing a commentary on Jonah. As we work our way through Jonah, I think you will see things in the book that you never saw before, and will begin to understand this short book in a way that brings it to life.
So join me over at the Grace Commentary as we begin to look at the Book of Jonah.
It won’t be boring.
CC Image (Adapted) • Andrew Michaels on Flickr