For good reason, our society has developed a heightened awareness of prejudice. Whether it’s racial prejudice, gender prejudice or any other pre-judging that occurs, voices condemning the perils of prejudice are growing louder.
But have you ever heard anyone call out God prejudice?
Imagine yourself in a court of law. You are part of the jury, and the writers of the Bible present you with evidence about God and about His Son, Jesus Christ. When they are finished, they will look to you for a verdict. All they ask is an objective assessment of the evidence, that you listen without prejudice.
But this need for objectivity is precisely the problem. We all have issues that make it difficult for us to hear the evidence, and we find it hard to set aside our God prejudice.
We are prejudiced against the God of the Bible because we know that if He really exists, and if He entered the world through Jesus Christ, our lives would have to change. By nature, we don’t want to consider this possibility. So we do whatever we can to be excused from the jury. “Sorry, I cannot impartially try this case.” But in an ironic twist, while avoiding a seat on the jury, most people still want to see the evidence!
The Bible is by far the bestselling book of all time, with over 5 billion copies sold. The evidence in the case at hand is more widely distributed than any other gathering of information in history. It is through the Bible God has made Himself known, how to find eternal life and His plan for mankind. As we read the Bible and become more familiar with God, it is how our faith is strengthened.
But many Bibles never get opened. Why?
For starters, the Bible can be intimidating. With over 800,000 words it is daunting. It is made up of 66 seemingly disconnected books, and it is full of unfamiliar people, places and events. Not to mention, the stories recounted are sometimes hard to believe — a virgin birth, a resurrection, and a God who speaks.
My invitation to people who don’t believe is to simply open the Bible.
Discover this world with its awesome God, His often confused and messed up people, and God’s great promise to bring blessing to all.Listen to what God has said. Look at what He has done, and you may find that, far from being a relic of the past, the Bible is how God speaks to you today.
It is through the Bible that God speaks to us in a progressive revelation. He gives us the building blocks to understand who He is, who Jesus is, why Jesus came into the world and what God is able to do in our lives today.
There is a regular phrase in the Gospel: “Come and See” — it means come and take a look. We can look in the Bible and find often misguided people who lose their way and how God keeps reaching out with grace and mercy to make things right with them.
Christians must follow the example of the New Testament apostles who were not authoritarian preachers standing on soapboxes shouting, “Believe! Believe!” They were compassionate pastors, laying out the evidence of what they saw and heard from Jesus Christ, so that people could consider it honestly and come to a conclusion.
The Bible presents the evidence on which faith is based. The Apostle John said, “These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). The evidence is compelling. So don’t let prejudice stop you from opening God’s Word. An honest look at the evidence may change your life.
Colin S. Smith is pastor of The Orchard in Chicago and the Founder and Teaching Pastor of Unlocking the Bible, an organization dedicated to engaging people everywhere to explore the Bible’s message. He is also the author and creator of the website www.unlockingthebible.org.