‘Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.’ – Psalm 34:8
Food – a glorious gift from God and something that we all need. But it can also help us to think about the Bible and how, just like meals, we weave Scripture into our lives.
In the UK, we have the incredible privilege of being able to consume the Bible in many different ways, from the pulpit on Sundays to home groups in the week and mobile apps every day.
Technology is making it faster than ever before to access Scripture. One tap brings up a verse to encourage us along in our day.
Some people say this is simply ‘snacking’ on God’s word. And, as with those dangerous mid-afternoon biscuit breaks, are they curbing our appetite for something truly nourishing? Or are they a great way of giving us a taste of the full meal to come?
On the other end of the spectrum, you may have heard that old saying, ‘Chew your food 100 times before swallowing’. Admittedly, this may seem excessive, but it does help us to appreciate what we are taking in. Or perhaps a more inviting image is those mealtimes spread over hours, often on Mediterranean holidays, taking time to savour every course and share stories together.
Much like a long-savoured meal, taking time together to wrestle with (or chew) the Bible can help us to understand what God wants us to see. In our home group, we have been using an intense method of study over the last few months to help us – the Student, the Fish and Agassiz – which encourages us to look, look and look again.
Time is not, however, something we have an abundance of today. For busy parents or people juggling multiple jobs, ‘snacking’ can be a lifeline. Just last week, a busy mum on the Wycliffe team shared how her Bible app helps her to carve out a golden nugget of time to read Scripture, and allows her to ponder it as she goes about the rest of her day.
A balanced Bible diet
As well as how we consume, we also need to consider what we consume. I recently learnt from our latest sermon series in church that 1 and 2 Chronicles are two of the least-preached-on books in the Bible. For this reason, we have a whole term ahead of us to delve into them.
It is easy to stray away from difficult passages or books that just don’t seem exciting, with their long genealogies or place names. But God has given us the full Bible and, just as we need all the vitamins and minerals of that not-so-appealing broccoli on our plates, we need all the nourishment the Bible offers.
We often rejoice with translation teams as they complete their New Testaments – but we know that many threads of the story are still missing. Many Bible translation teams are now grappling with the Old Testament, knowing that they cannot rest until they have the full story. Worldwide, 1 in 5 people still don’t have access to the whole feast – the whole Bible.
Recipes of life
With summer comes one of the nation’s favourite TV cookery shows – The Great British Bake Off. Each week the contestants nervously enter the tent to see what awaits them. Each finds the same brief, but what comes out is not an identical set of cakes or bread, but instead something unique to each of them.
We are united by the same God and his word, but each of us has our own recipe of life, resulting in a unique story of faith. This means that surely there can’t be a one-size-fits-all way to engage with the Bible.
At the heart of many cultures is storytelling, so people share and engage with the Bible through stories. For some, creating music or drama is the most natural way of communicating with God and spreading his message.
God at the centre
In all the different kinds of food and meals, the most important thing to remember is to keep God at the centre of them. We have an awesome feast in the Bible, which God has laid for all to enjoy:
‘When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.’ – Luke 14:13
Together let’s hunger after God’s word!