I have been a pastor for twenty-seven years. I love being a pastor. That does not mean, of course, that there are problems I would wish to avoid, nor are there issues I have to deal with that frankly waste my time. Nevertheless, I love so much of what it means to be a pastor of a church, leading it in its mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
But there is one thing, in all my years in pastoral ministry, that excites me as much today as it did twenty plus years ago-- facilitating a Bible study in which the Scripture comes alive for an individual for the first time in her or his life. I never tire of seeing the Bible opened up to folks in ways never before imagined.
I will never forget the time years ago when a woman in her eighties said to me how much was enjoying my Bible study. She said to me. "I was raised in the church all my life and I know nothing about the Bible. I wish I had more time."
When one truly reads the Bible, one risks being transported into a new world, a way of being never before considered. In the midst of all of its complexity and difficulty and its profundity, the Bible invites us into a context that can only be described as divine.
Reading the Bible is dangerous business. Reading the Bible is to risk change. It is to risk losing a comfortable, predictable world for one that completely reorients one's view of the world.
Why do I like teaching the Bible? I like teaching it because, I have to confess, I like watching the Holy Spirit rearrange people's worldview. I find it exhilarating when people have to rethink things they have believed about Jesus and what what he expects of them... and us. I like this, not because I want to make people miserable. I like opening up the Bible to folks because I enjoy watching their lives take on new meaning and being caught up in the purposes of God; and only the Bible can do that.
With all of his learning, John Wesley said that he was a man of one book. I proudly affirm the same; and I never find it boring for the Bible to become God-breathed for those who truly ponder it for the first time.