Comedian Lee Mack was interviewed on Desert Island Discs recently. He was asked which book he would take with him—you’re allowed the Bible, the works of Shakespeare and one other. He chose Stephen Hawking’s ‘A Brief History of Time’, but it was his comments about the Bible that intrigued me.
He said, ‘I'm glad you get the Bible, because I would read the Bible. I think it's quite odd that people like myself, in their forties, are quite happy to dismiss the Bible, but I've never read it. I always think that if an alien came down and you were the only person they met, and they said, “What’s life about? What’s earth about? Tell us everything,” and you said, “Well, there's a book here that purports to tell you everything. Some people believe it to be true; some people do not believe it to be true.” “Wow, what’s it like?” and you go, “I don’t know, I’ve never read it.” It would be an odd thing wouldn't it? So, at the very least, read it.’
Many feel that it’s a book for specialists and they should just take the words of the opinion formers - whether it be clergy or authors like Dan Brown. Others feel let down by church, but are reluctant to read the Bible for themselves, preferring just to muddle on in the hope that everything will be ok. Some are struggling with life and trying to get through by their own strength, unaware that the Bible has help to give. Even many churches have in practice abandoned the Bible - and it’s no surprise they’re declining and closing.
When the Bible was translated into the language of the common people, it scandalised many of the church leaders, but transformed this nation. I’d love to get a group of people together to read through a book of the Bible with opportunities to discuss and discover what it’s about. Or sit down for a coffee with anyone that’s interested in doing something similar one-on-one.
But, ‘at the very least, read it’. You might be surprised.
Based on an article by Mark Loughridge in 4you magazine. Published in Stranraer & Wigtownshire Free Press, 4 February 2016.