I had been needing reading glasses for several years, but I had been putting off that first phase of getting older because I didn’t feel like I was that old yet. Finally, about 2 years ago, I scheduled my first visit to an eye doctor. Not only did I need glasses for reading, but I had to jump right into needing TRIFOCALS! Who does that? Don’t people progressively move up from regular glasses to bifocals and then, who even knew there was such a thing as trifocals? I sure didn’t! But, guess what? That fuzzy TV picture that I thought was a TV problem, was in reality, MY PROBLEM!
We tend to read the Bible through our own sight of experiences we have had, teachings we have grown up with, and quite frankly, what we want to see hidden in the pages of scripture. I know many people who claim that the only book they will read is the Bible. That sounds quite magnanimous or holy or “holier than thou” at the outset, but I’m not sure that’s the best way for us to get a clear view of what the Bible teaches.
I have been in churches in which the pastor has preached from the pulpit very specific books to avoid reading due to the author’s viewpoint being different from the teachings of that specific church. I completely understand the need to be careful what we allow to enter our mind, but what has happened to learning about discernment and teaching people how to think about why they do or don’t believe things? What has happened to humility and realizing that we don’t have all the right answers? What if the teachings that seem a bit hazy or unclear are simply a result of our not having the right glasses on, rather than thinking that the other person’s viewpoint is completely wrong and thus, the problem?
Reading books by various authors is a good way for us to contemplate points of view that we may have never considered. It allows us the opportunity to see the Bible through different lenses. I literally grew up in the church. When my dad first started a church, we held services in the basement of our home until we were able to rent a different space for the church and then purchased a church building. I was very sheltered in our very religious form of Christianity. I didn’t believe anyone could truly be saved and attend a movie theater or drink any form of alcohol. Then, I went to a Bible college and met people who truly loved the Lord and yet, they didn’t believe the same things about movies or alcohol.
I began to see the teachings of the Bible in very different ways, even though I attended a very conservative Baptist Bible college – you know, the ones in which the cheerleaders wear culottes! We all have a need to see things through different lenses and that doesn’t change even when you reach the trifocal level! I received trifocals that have those horrible lines in them. I have really struggled adjusting to them and so I must confess, I don’t wear them as often as I should. My son had to get bifocals (and he is only 21!), but he got the ones with the progressive lenses. He had me try them on one day, and what a difference that makes not having the lines in them. I think my next step in the eyesight issue will be to get glasses with those lenses in them. Imagine how much better my eyesight will improve when I don’t have to constantly adjust which way I am looking through my glasses so that I don’t see those lines!
Jesus wants for us to see Him clearly and to grow in wisdom. Don’t be afraid to listen to different perspectives on what the Bible teaches. Yes, there will be times in which you still don’t agree with what they have said. But, other times, it might just get you processing new approaches to life that will make a drastic difference in how you see things. So, try on some new lenses today and ask yourself the question, “Can you see me now?” and determine if the new picture you are seeing aligns more clearly with what the Bible tells us about Jesus and how he was the physical representation of God.