Inspired by the "15 Things You Didn't Know Your iPhone Could Do" article that had every other person on my Facebook news feed commenting, "Wow! I never knew about #5," and "I can't wait to try #13," here are 17 Things You Didn't Know Your Bible Could Do:
Yes, believe it or not, the Bible that sits on your shelf collecting dust can actually be opened. Here's to hoping that doesn't come as a surprise...
2) It has a table of contents
Sometimes the most intimidating part of reading the Bible is not knowing your way around it. Here's a secret: "There's a cheat sheet in the front."
3) Some even have an index
Just like the table of contents, there are no funny gifs that could possibly illustrate an index. Instead, this is one possible reaction of a person who just discovered the usefulness of looking up a particular topic or name using the index in the back of their Bible.
4) Fancy Bibles have cross-references
Want to find out who else told the same story or used the same word or referred to the same miracle in a completely different book? Check the cross reference.
But don't forget, if your Bible doesn't have cross references, you may have to upgrade.
5) Many Bibles contain maps
Don't make the mistake of reading through a story without familiarizing yourself with the landscape. A lot can be clarified when you pay attention to the directions. Using the maps in your Bible can shed new light on familiar stories.
6) Ever wonder why it's called the B.I.B.L.E.?
I can neither confirm nor deny with 100% accuracy whether or not this is the real reason they call it the Bible. I kind of doubt it. But what if...?
7) It contains stories that are NSFW
Sure... now you want to see if #1 on this list actually works.
8) It can show you that you're not the only one struggling with sin
Sometimes the realization that you're not the only one is the first step toward improvement.
9) It can encourage you with hope
If you haven't read the story of Corrie Ten Boom, do it. Now. As a prisoner in a concentration camp, she and her sister encouraged their fellow prisoners by reading from the Bible they had smuggled in.
10) It can actually be used to unite people (not just to divide people)
This one relies pretty heavily on the next:
11) It can be read in full sections at a time...
...not just one selected verse at a time.
When was the last time you let the Bible speak to you, rather than you speaking to the Bible?
For those who care: how often do we actually practice eisegesis and mistakenly call it exegesis?
12) The Bible can show you that you're not the only one confused by life
Some things in life will just never make sense, just like this guy thinking, "Why did I ever decide to become a Raiders fan?" It can be downright depressing trying to find an answer, but sometimes we can find hope in the simple fact that we are not alone in the search.
13) It can also show you that you're not the only one who has been angry at God
All throughout the Bible there are examples of people who were ticked off at the Creator. You're not the first, and you won't be the last. The good part is it's natural, and it's okay. God is always there waiting for us when we decide to stop throwing our tantrum.
14) It can be accessed in many forms
With each new Bible app invented, you have one less excuse why you still haven't tested out #1 from this list. Also, next time you see someone on their phone in the middle of the Sunday morning worship service... give them the benefit of the doubt. We're living in a new world now, and there's a chance they're reading the Bible while you're sitting there judging them.
I didn't say it was a big chance. That depends on your church.
15) It can be used by God to communicate directly to you
Don't just read the Bible so you can check it off your to-do list. Expect the Holy Spirit to show you something. Like a whisper from heaven, listen for God's still, small voice.
16) It can help you find your place in God's story
Ever feel like you're floating through life without being on a team? Good news: you don't have to be like Tom Brady here. YOU are a part of God's story. Whether you want to be or not, the Bible tells a story that includes you as a character. You have the opportunity to be a part of something that is so much bigger than yourself.
17) The Bible can literally change your life
"It changes everything."
Maybe you just haven't given it a try.
Or maybe you have, and you gave up for some reason.
Today is a great day to try it again.
Sure, you can read your Bible alone, but the experience is so much more rich when you read it with a friend or small group. Remember: read the Bible expecting to hear from God.
And don't be embarrassed if #1 rang a little too true. You're not alone in that either.
May today be the day that you begin to fall in love with God's Word.