“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
Reading the Bible often inspires many questions for which it supplies no answers. But then, it was not the author’s intent in writing, to answer every question people might ask. It is not as presumptuous as some might think to claim to know the author’s intent—it is stated plainly by one of the scribes.
In the literature classes I’ve taken, I am forever amazed at the things assigned as the author’s intent that are read into a novel by those analyzing it. I suppose I’m not that deep. Then again, maybe sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. I have not begun to scratch the surface of the Bible as either literature or as divine revelation.
I do have to admire the One whose hook is “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” No info dump of back story, no introduction of the characters, just a giant jump in medias res—right in the middle of things. Yes, the middle things.
What was God doing before in the beginning? It was the beginning for us, not for Him. We don’t know and are given very few hints. The book is not trying to deliver that information. The text is restricted to a broad outline of the story of the relationship between the human and the divine.
I had an editor that generally took exception to my writing something like, “Jack walked across the room” because I didn’t first say that Jack stood up. How Jack might have walked across the room without standing up still escapes me. But the editor felt like the reader shouldn’t be left to guess or assume.
Ah, if God only had an editor, what secrets we would learn!
People are often disappointed in their reading of the Bible because it doesn’t explain everything under the sun. In fairness though, it does mention there is nothing new under the sun—great principles and themes are eternal.
The Bible can speak to the skeptical. It has little to say to those unwilling to give the author a hearing. The Bible is bound to be disappointing when the intent of the author is thrown over for the predetermined intent of the reader. The author wrote the Bible as the author’s call to make peace with estranged readers—and that done—He promises to explain everything else to them as their relationship blossoms. There really is no other reason for God writing the story at all.
The Bible was written for inquiring minds, but the author chooses only to satisfy those, in His own time and in a personalized fashion unique to each reader and then only as they became part of the narrative.
A man was once told by Abraham that if his brothers could not read the law of Moses and believe in God, they wouldn’t believe if someone rose from the dead and recounted the same story. If you cannot read the Gospel, hear the author’s words, and believe them, seeing miracles or receiving answers to outrageously crafted prayers won’t move you. Of course, you are free to write your own version and many do.