The Pink Bible
We just finished our weekly Thursday night Bible study and everyone who sits in our group will start laughing when they read tonight’s post, so I might as well just tell you that I’m talking about Susan, one of our core group members. And please know that we all love her, and think that she is really great. One of the things that is so wonderful about her is that those of us who have studied Scripture together for many years are simply amazed at how Susan’s spiritual journey has unfolded in front of us – and we have been privileged to have a front row seat. But that’s the end of the story – perhaps a little background is in order.
In late 2006, I received a call from Susan about working with their family to create a wedding for her daughter, Annie. I had never met her before, but I understood Susan immediately; she’s a type “A”, just like I am. Her husband is more laid back, kind of like Janet, and Susan and I hit it off right away. In a good natured way, it was apparent that Susan usually got her way; she is unusually competent in many areas. You just know things are going to happen when she is around.
Wedding ceremonies are one of my areas of expertise and we quickly came to an understanding that with both of us working together, the wedding could be something really special – and it was – a beautiful wedding “in the round” with the guests surrounding the bridal couple on all sides and a deeply religious ceremony.
After the wedding and related events were all over, Susan and I touched base by phone; and she expressed an interest in joining our Bible study. Susan had never done something like this before, but there was no doubt in her mind that she was supposed to be a part of our group. Several of us (there are about 15 of us in the group) have studied together for 7-10 years together, and quite honestly, we do some pretty deep stuff. In fact, we are fond of saying that this is not some lite devotional material. Rather, we have what is called an exegetical Bible study. In other words, we tear each verse apart and discuss the original languages, and what each verse means from a theological perspective. We are of a mind that there is one interpretation, but many possible applications, based on where you are in your life, and how the Holy Spirit works on you at different times.
Now this is quite different from many lighter groups who think the Bible is some document that has different interpretations depending on a number of external factors. I guess I just wasn’t taught that way – it’s God’s Word, and that’s all there is to it. Sure, we have differences – after all, we have Catholics, Evangelicals, Baptists, Methodists and even a Unitarian, but we all love to study, and I have made it a habit of trying to present all sides of theological debate so the entire group is equipped with the different positions to make their own decisions about what to believe. I have conducted two weddings for members of the group, almost everyone who was sprinkled as an infant has now been baptized by immersion and we even do communion together. I guess you could say we do church.
It was into this environment that Susan started to study with us. The first year or so she used a new Bible she had bought – a pink Bible. It had some notes, and I think it was written for people who had a desire to scratch the surface of the Scripture. Now I’m not knocking this, not at all – a Bible is a Bible, but it was evident very soon that Susan wasn’t going to be happy with this level of study. She was “all in”, and that meant the pink Bible was headed for the shelf. She went out and purchased what is called a Key Word Bible – complete with references for the Greek and Hebrew; and then one night she came loaded for bear – with her new acquisition.
The whole time she has been with us, more than 4 years now, has been a wonderful experience and a blessing to all of us. We have studied nineteen books of Scripture together as a group – verse by verse, usually one chapter a week. Sometimes, the historical books go a little faster, but in the New Testament especially, we just can’t cover more than one chapter at a time – not at the level we do it.
Susan has also joined other Bible studies, including Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), has gone through the Discipleship Study in the Methodist Church, and she now even facilitates her own group at BSF. She is really something special; and we are all proud of her – she has worked hard, and she “gets” it. But there is no denying that the pink Bible is making fewer appearances at our weekly meetings. Tonight, I even asked her what the pink Bible had to say on a particular topic and everyone laughed. I told Susan I thought I would write a post about her some day, and the more I thought about it, I just decided to do it this evening.
The verse for tonight is 2 Tim 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” – and Susan has been an incredible example of someone dedicated to learning God’s Word. My encouragement tonight is that God rejoices when we study his Word. After all, this is one of the ways that He connects with us; and how we grow in our relationship with Him. It is also one of the reasons that Transitions by the Book exists. So people can learn more about God’s Word and how it is applicable to our everyday lives. My prayer is that you will dedicate yourself to learning more about God and His Son, Jesus Christ. And if I can help point you in the right direction, please let me know. I would be honored to help. In the meantime, make sure that you have a Bible, even a pink one, and spend time with the Lord each day. It can be life-changing – just ask Susan, or any of us.