Jesus once said that we should first seek the kingdom of God and the rest will follow. Through the centuries the friends of Jesus did this by listening intently to the silent whispers of the Spirit of Jesus in the stories of the ancient prophets, poets and writers; in the witnesses of the men and women at the empty tomb; in the way all of creation fits together; in the lives of the dead and the living and in the sacred spaces all over the place.
For the first 5000 thousand years the community of God-seekers did not have a Bible. The stories, prophecies, poems, songs, letters and sermons that most Christians today read as God’s untouchable Word, were back then, also understood as Moses’ sermons, Israel’s history, David’s prayers, Solomon’s wisdom, Jeremiah’s hope, Amos’ convictions and Daniel’s dreams. They believed that these written words helped them to understand themselves and God better. For them the words were dead unless they read it, engaged with it, discussed it, confronted it, believed it and lived it.
A few generations after Jesus, some of them started to see that these ancient texts helped them to see the Truth behind the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. With the help of Paul, Mark, Matthew, Luke, John, Peter and a few others they came to see how this historical event(s) were connected with all of creation, how this ordinary human being was “God-with-us” and how this new understanding changed their lives in this life and the next.
It was only 300 and something years after Jesus that the community of Jesus-followers thought it handy to give more structure to the literature they read as a community. It took another 1200 years before a part of the community felt compelled to make this ancient Library of God-stories available in ordinary, common and easy-to-read language for everyone who wants to take part in the movement of Jesus.
So if the Bible, like we know it today, is only 500 years old, while the movement of Jesus has been around for way longer than that, can it then be that modern Christianity is missing the point when it comes to the Ancient Word(s) of Faith?
Something to the think about as another week in the lives of doubtful believers unfolds.