Updated: Oct 26, 2022
Have you ever been walking along so engrossed in thought that when you paused to look up you did not know where you were? For many of us, young and old, the world today feels like that. We seem to find ourselves in a world that makes less sense almost daily.
Past generations seemed to have a much greater appreciation for how essential it was to orient themselves in the world in which they found themselves. I think of the sailors who learned to rely upon the arc of the sun by day and the moon, the map of the stars and the North Star to navigate by night.
But more than geography, we have always had the need to make sense of the world and society in which we find ourselves, and our place in them. It all begins with our family of origin, but we soon become aware of the larger world. In ages past a great deal of thought and energy went into asking the really interesting questions of our existence – who am I? What is man, and what does it mean to be human? What is life? Is there more? I hope you are not put off by my use of the words man, or mankind – I use them in the old-school sense and as a bridge to the past, which seems like a good place to start.
But life, especially today, has a way of distracting us. And if we are honest, the distraction helps us avoid questions like these, at least for a time. But given the place we now find ourselves; it is time we stopped being distracted and begin asking the really interesting questions again.
I have always been drawn to the imagery of life as a journey because it is so fitting. There is a starting point, an ending point that we know is out there somewhere, and everything in between, including the people, places, events, ups and downs along the way. But life is more, isn't it?
It is no accident that the root for the word travel is travail which means hardship and comes
from the Latin tripalis which in literal terms means "three stakes."
"Huh!?" You might ask. I know I did! I had no idea of this connection when I sat down to write. I honestly do not know if the Latin is referring to the three stakes that nailed Jesus to the cross, but it was the first thought in my mind.
So, what's the connection? It strikes me that we are the most educated generation in history, and yet we don't know Jack!
For more than two millennia, one book above all others have spoken to the human yearning to know. More than any other written work, the Bible has been a light on the path for mankind as a whole, and man or woman as individuals.
Why is that? How is it that this 2000-year-old book – and that's just the "New" testament – the "Old" testament goes back another 2500-years or more! – has stood the test of time, far more than any other written material in the human experience?
Have you read your Bible lately – or ever? If you have not read it, where do your opinions about it come from? Like so many things, what you "know" about the Bible is almost certainly wrong – it was not written by monks living in caves all their lives! It was written mostly by everyday people – like John and Peter, a couple of uneducated fishermen who were lucky enough to own their own boat! Or David, a precocious little shepherd boy who never knew when to quit and rose to become Israel's 2nd greatest king.
Who was Israel's greatest king? You have to read the New Testament to find out!
So why not put your cell phone down for a minute, dust off that old copy still sitting on the shelf and do a little reading. Your phone will keep. For a 2000- to 4500-year-old book, it is remarkably readable! I recommend starting in the gospels – the one called Luke is a good start and it has a sequel called the book of Acts, which sets the stage for the 1st century and believe it or not, the groundwork for our own time. Have you ever wondered where the world came from? Read the book of Genesis, the 1st book in the entire Bible. This book sets the stage for all mankind.
If nothing else, you will no longer be uninformed about the Bible. But I think you will find more – much more! It may even begin to answer the question raised by this blog.