Do you write in your Bible? I write in all the books I read; that’s why I’m not on the Kindle train yet. I underline. Highlight. Put parentheses, brackets and other little symbols I made up. Some people don’t ever write in their Bibles because they don’t want to make it look cluttered, but I think it’s good to.
My Bible has a lot of places where I just simply put a question mark, which is my code for “I’m not quite sure what this part means.” If you flipped through my pages you’d also see a lot of stuff scribbled out in the margins, and you might assume I don’t have a lot of peace of mind about much of what I read in the Bible. You might assume I have no concreteness to my faith.
Whatever you might think, the fact is that I am actually pretty confident. And I have come to enjoy seeing my scribbled out thoughts and question marks. I enjoy it because I love that I have a faith that allows me to evolve. That allows me to write question marks. That allows me to change my mind on subjects that I thought I knew when I was 18, and that will allow me to change my mind when I’m 48.
I once talked to a guy that had entered college on a path to be a youth pastor. Over the course of the four years he gave up on it and gave up on the church completely. I asked him why he had drastically changed career paths and he said, “In short, there was always one question that led to another question, and I just got tired of it.”
Faith in Jesus can be hard for a few types of people. For one, can be hard for people who are really rich. And it can also be hard for people who are really smart. For people that demand scientific proof of everything. Because the truth is, there are a lot of times where we don’t get scientific proof and God doesn’t shoot fire out of the sky to prove our points. And you will deal a lot with questions that lead to other questions. And then get some more questions.
But for all my years of walking and wrestling with God, I’ve come to at least one solid conclusion that I’ll never change my mind on: God is bigger than my questions. He’s bigger than what I scribble out in my margins. He’s bigger than any pen’s ink. And He’s good.
If you visit some churches you’ll hear them say, “We just preach the Bible like it says.” And while I like their dedication, I kind of wonder what they mean by that, because you can’t just read the Bible word for word and place it directly into 21st century America. If you could, we’d have a lot more people being stoned. But yet, the word of God is living and active.
John Piper disagrees with Tim Keller on some parts. Francis Chan disagrees with Louie Giglio. Four men that have studied the Bible for long, long times all disagree on issues. How can this be? This is the sort of situation that is frustrating to really smart people, because they want a faith that everyone must agree on in every single area. But Christ didn’t give us that sort of rulebook; He gave us the church. And the church is quite diverse.
If we are Christians, then we must believe that just as God gave us His word, He also gave us his Spirit. You can’t really read the word of God without the Spirit of God and expect it to change you. It’s how the ancient texts comes alive and can still apply to our lives so many years later.
God will always be bigger than our minds can wrap around. If we knew all the greatness of God then we’d be God, and we’re not even close. But for all of His mystery, He desires to be known by us. And that’s why He gave us His Spirit—He wants us to know Him. He wants us to wrestle through words and cross out old thoughts. He wants us to stay up late and search for answers. He wants us to talk to other people and see what they think.
Questions can lead to other questions, but it’s the same with any study in life. The human body is amazing, but you’re not going to have it all figured out in a day’s worth of reading. It takes time and study. It’s the same with God. But He is bigger than our questions. He is bigger than our changing opinions. And He is good.