Closing the Bible

N.T. Wright once spoke of Scripture as the four written parts of a five-act play. They are the recorded lines, themes, plots and subplots of God’s great story and we, in our present age, are living out the fifth act based on what has already been revealed. Do our lives connect with the characters of the first four? Are we interacting with God and giving him due reverence and worship based on the previous acts? How do we fit into the grand narrative of God’s Son who is the savior of the world?

There is something that happens to us when we watch a film that captures our imagination, or put down a novel that immerses us in a fantastic and bright new world – we find ourselves longing, not merely for the story to continue, but for us to somehow be a part of it. Perhaps that is why thousands of people flock to Harry Potter World to immerse themselves, if only for a few hours, in a reality where wizards are real, giants are kind, and friendship overcomes the greatest of evils. That a whole world of wonder, truth and beauty exists long after the credits roll and the book is placed back on the shelf.

What happens when we close our Bibles after reading them? Something astonishing – we find that the world we just shut is still all around us.

We find that the sun Joshua prayed to stand still is the same sun that peeks through our curtains in the morning. That the courage and friendship between Ruth and Naomi are still alive and well in the homes and churches of the body of Christ. And that the Jesus of the New Testament; the tender, forthright, abounding in steadfast love, forgiving, merciful, rebuking, sovereign Lord, is the same one who lives and reigns today.

The Bible refuses to be merely a story about the world – it is the story of the world. And when we close our Bibles and gaze out into the world, we discover that the story continues.