God’s Complicated Book

Every once in a while, when I asked my mom a question about the Bible, she would think for a minute, and give me an answer that sort of made sense to me, but not really. I would respond with another question, and she would go “Hmmmm” for a second, before saying, “I’m not sure, honestly. We might have to ask a minister about that one.”

That used to startle me—and frustrate me a little, too. “What?! Mom doesn’t even know?! But she’s supposed to be the Bible genius! She went to Ambassador College! They were supposed to teach her everything! What madness is this?!”

When I look back on those moments now, though, I find them encouraging, because even the “Bible genius” in my life had a lot to learn. As young people in God’s Church, it can be easy for us to feel like we’re hopelessly ignorant when it comes to the Bible. As I’ve grown up surrounded by teenagers and young adults who really want to know more, I’ve heard several admit to being afraid to talk about the Bible with others in the Church because of how “stupid” they think they’re going to sound. Some have even said that they’re a little afraid to even read it—“It’s so confusing, and I can’t shake the feeling that I don’t really understand what’s going on.”

And I get it. I’ve felt that way, too. The Bible is a thick, complicated book, and that’s before you get into all the translation issues. It contains seemingly countless names of people, places, and things, goes into a shocking amount of detail in some areas, goes into a puzzling lack of detail in others, and just when you think you’re following what’s going on, it whips out a genealogy and fast-forwards a few hundred years. The Bible is beautiful, terrifying, comforting, and confusing, and anyone who claims to have read it cover-to-cover without at least once going, “Wait, what?” is probably not being completely honest.

But how could it be anything else? God wrote a book.

Sometimes I have to let that statement sink in. The more you think about it, the more it kind of blows your mind: God, the Eternal Family who knows all that could ever possibly be known, who is intimately aware of truths no human brain can even begin to fathom, wrote a book explaining the deepest secrets of life, the universe, and everything—and you and I actually sort of understand it a little bit. I mean, we get the gist! Even though Isaiah and Jeremiah lose us sometimes, Paul’s run-on sentences occasionally leave us blinking perplexedly, and our brains go numb every so often from all the numbers in Numbers, we still recognize characters, principles, laws, examples, and poetry that God Himself wrote.

That’s not a reason to brag—without God’s Holy Spirit to help, any of us might think Ezra was a name Star Wars made up. But if the Master of the Universe wrote a book and has gifted us with even a cursory understanding of it, we shouldn’t be afraid to discuss it or ashamed of not knowing it better. We should be excited to discuss it because we have the chance to know it better. And we should be incredibly grateful to our Creator for whatever knowledge we have of the most important thing ever written.

Truly knowing the mind of God is just about the entire purpose of human life, so we should probably expect it to take a lifetime. Yeah, there’s a lot you don’t know right now, but there’s probably a lot the “Bible geniuses” in your life don’t know, either. So don’t be discouraged by what you don’t know. Be encouraged by what you can know—and thankful for what you know already.

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