The Word of God was not given to us to become an overly-dissected book cut up in such a way that it proves our pet theology or gives us the winning point in a forensic debate setting. The Word of God is a living love letter. It was written to humanity to reveal the love of God. Human foolishness and sin do fill some of the pages along with the consequences of those choices but they are temporary interruptions to the narrative of God’s love.
In high school, I took a biology class in my junior year. One afternoon as we entered class it was the day of the dreaded frog dissection. In front of each student was a dead frog splayed out on a cutting board. Scalpels lay beside each dead frog. For the next hour, we were directed by our teacher how to cut open the frog to discover from his interior region the position and function of his organs. You could hear nervous laughter and an occasional gagging sound throughout the exercise. Some students stood in a weird silence as they did the cutting wondering if this was the first step in becoming a mass murderer. It was a brutal event.
As I cut into my frog, I remembered back in my yard at home there lived a real frog in his natural element. He (I am assuming it was a he) was fully intact, his guts securely in place as he hopped and croaked with freedom through my mother’s pansy patch. I liked that frog much more than this poor little guy who was enduring the cold and impersonal incisions of my scalpel.
If we are not careful we can end up dissecting Scripture like a dead frog. Scripture was never given to us to be dissected to prove our denominational statement of faith or our pet theology. The truth contained in its pages was not given to become a gotcha moment at Starbucks when we “win” a theological argument. It was given to us to reveal the heart of God and in the process, the condition of ours.
Don’t get me wrong. Study Scripture. Be a diligent student but study to discover the heart of God. Use that focus as the primary motivator for your study. I is a form of discovery that will leave no one gagging in the process.
If we could spend more time in the garden of life instead of the impersonal laboratory of religion we will be able to show the world the power of the Living Word instead of a dead and dissected substitute of the real thing.
Later in the day, after biology class, I went home to my mom’s pansy patch looking for Mr. Frog to apologize to him for what I just did to one of his relatives. I didn’t find him. I think he was hiding.