A Daily Rhythm of Seeking Intimacy with God

When the crisis blows over, will the new normal include daily Bible reading, prayer and meditation?


Nothing is normal about these times right now. Daily case totals and death tolls are front of mind, reminding us of the tenuous uncertainty of life. Though people may question the significance of the numbers, compared to cases and death tolls from the flu, for instance, the preoccupation of the world with this global pandemic labeled COVID-19 is a daily reminder of our own mortality.

Someone speaking of personal experience in World War I remarked, “There are no atheists in the trenches of Europe.” The same idea was echoed in World War II: “There are no atheists in foxholes.” Indeed, Impossible times and situations that snap us out of our comfortable mundane existence have that kind of effect on us.

I doubt that it’s true )that there are no atheists in foxholes). As a generalization, though, there is some kernel of truth there. Many a person who has no interest in God, turns to God in times like these.

YouVersion, the maker of a downloadable Bible app, recently reported on April 15, 2020, historic numbers of people accessing their app, the largest increase in engagement with their app in the last 6 weeks during this time of worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. A record 1.6 million prayers were added in just one month. They claim the pandemic has triggered a virtual spiritual awakening.

The app tracks downloads. When I first checked it, I saw it had been downloaded 421,462,195 times. I started writing this piece a day ago, and I am just getting back to it now. Not quite 24 hours later, the app has been downloaded 421,546, 815 times. That’s an increase of almost 85,000 in less than 24 hours!

With the spike in downloads of just one Bible app (among many), it seems that people really are turning to Scripture in this time of crisis and difficulty.

That leads me to wonder: when the crisis blows over, will people go back to their “normal” lives? Will the new normal include daily Bible reading, prayer and meditation?

Continue reading “A Daily Rhythm of Seeking Intimacy with God”

Inerrancy and the Spirit of the Age

The concept of inerrancy was developed by Christian rationalists in response to atheistic rationalism. It isn’t in the Bible.


When I was in college, I was one thesis away from being a religion major. I took the thesis class, did the research and even wrote the paper. I just didn’t turn it in.

I graduated with an English Literature major. I didn’t need the double major. I wasn’t satisfied with the product, so I didn’t turn the paper in.

I’ve recalled these things before, but I haven’t really addressed the subject of that thesis paper. It was biblical inerrancy.

I recall the religion major that fell short now, and the topic that derailed it, following some comments that NT (Tom) Wright made to Justin Brierley on the podcast, Ask NT Wright Anything (episode #8, I believe). I chose the topic, of course, but I felt I bit off more than I could chew.

It turns out that there may be another reason the topic was so difficult for me, a new believer at the time. NT Wright sheds some light on the subject.

Continue reading “Inerrancy and the Spirit of the Age”

Four Misconceptions about Christianity

Four basic assumptions that seem to be prevalent in the modern American world that are not not biblical.


I am continually impressed by the persistence of misconceptions about Christianity, even in the United States. The US is considered by many (still) to be a “Christian” nation. Most people may identify as Christian in the US, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we all understand the basic tenets of the faith. Maybe it’s an example of familiarity leading us to assume things that aren’t necessarily true. Following I address just four very basic assumptions that seem to be prevalent in the modern American world that are not consistent with the Christian perspective that is revealed in the Bible. Continue reading “Four Misconceptions about Christianity”

Letting the Bible Speak for Itself


I have been coming back to a similar theme in recent months on how we read and interpret the Bible. I have noted that fundamentalists and atheists tend to read the Bible in the same rigid way. The only difference is that fundamentalists believe all of it, and the atheists believe none of it. They both assume and insist that the Bible must be read literally, even though everyone knows that many passages can’t be taken literally.

For instance, when Jesus said he is the vine, he obviously didn’t mean he was a plant. We have to use some common sense and understanding to determine when the text is intended to be metaphorical, and when it is meant to be literal. Sometimes, it might even have both literal and metaphorical meanings. We can’t rigidly assume that the Bible must always be taken literally if we are serious about understanding it.

Some people think that either the Bible must be taken literally, or not at all. This is a false dichotomy. We don’t read other literature that way. Frankly, when we approach the Bible in that way, insisting that it be read literally, we are doing the Bible a disservice, and we are failing to take the Bible seriously enough. We are insisting that the Bible speak to us the way we want to be spoken to, rather than trying to understand what the Bible is saying on its own terms, not ours.

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Taking the Bible Literally? Or Seriously?


Some people urge Christians to take the Bible literally. I don’t think taking the Bible literally is taking the Bible seriously enough. I think it’s a far more important matter to take the Bible seriously.

Consider John 1:1-3

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

John Lennox, the brilliant Oxford mathematician, relates a conversation he had with Peter Atkins, the prolific atheist scholar. When Lennox referred Atkins to John, Chapter 1, Atkins called Lennox naïve to believe that God has lungs, a voice box and a voice. Of course, that isn’t how Lennox (or anyone who takes the Bible seriously) understands those words at all.

I find it interesting that both atheists and fundamentalists tend to adhere to a literal reading of the Bible. The only difference between them is that one believes all of it, and the other believes none of it.

A literal reading of John 1:1-3 clearly misses the point. No one believes that God has lungs, a voice box and a voice. Rather, God is so “Other” from us that we must use devices, like metaphors, to conceptualize God. Metaphor conveys meaning in ways that meaning cannot be conveyed literally.

People often misunderstand what it means to read something “literally”. Lennox suggests that understanding the metaphor is reading the Bible literally. The metaphor is the literal meaning that is intended.

We have to take the Bible very seriously in order to understand this and to see the actual meaning that is there. When we read the Bible always “literally”, we are not taking the Bible seriously enough! (Not to mention that no one actually read every verse of the Bible literally, not even the literalists!)

Continue reading “Taking the Bible Literally? Or Seriously?”