“The Lord, the Mighty One, is God,
and he has spoken;
he has summoned all humanity
from where the sun rises to where it sets.”
I’m going to say something that may feel like a slap in your face at first, but it might save you from one of those theoretical spiders crawling up your cheek.
The Bible is not about you.
I’m not the first one to say it—I know. Brilliant and humble people have been speaking this truth for years. Some preachers yell it from the pulpit, and others just assume you know. But I didn’t. I simply didn’t know.
I grew up thinking the Bible was a map for how to live my best life—or, in some seasons, it was just a bit of “extra” that God sprinkled on the world to help us out (even though I rarely could make up or down of most of it, so not actually very helpful).
And, look, I’m by no means ranked with one of the best readers out there–but I have done my fair share of literary study, and so I know that if the fact that the Bible isn’t about me wasn’t apparent to me, it may not be apparent to you.
Friend, the realization that the Bible is not about me literally changed everything. Things that didn’t make sense about the Bible suddenly were brought to light. Passages in scripture that I banged my head against for years became the very core of the pillars that uphold my faith today. I’ve since walked away from my fight to be centerstage, and to do so has given me great freedom.
You see, reading the Bible as if it was about me resulted in:
- confusion about the role of and the relevancy of the Old Testament in my life (which led to complete avoidance of it),
- sporadic reading of random chapters or verses in order to extract some application to my current need,
- leaving my Bible on the shelf for days, weeks, months, years… while I searched for a means to experience God,
- a complete obsession with figuring out my calling,
- a rejection of Christianity altogether because it didn’t seem like I was the main character of the Christian story, which caused me to doubt whether it was true at all.
Life after realizing the Bible is not about me (or you) produced in me:
- a voracious hunger to learn more about the most dynamic and virtuous character ever portrayed in history—our God;
- a desire to read scripture in context and feast on it as a means to align and wake up to truth, and witness the vitality of the greatest story ever told still playing out today;
- a true love for the Bible, which is now my favorite book of all time (surpassing even Little Women), and one I read again and again;
- a very real desire to witness God moving in the lives of those around me, and watching Him work in my own life in complete awe and wonder that the Ancient of Days is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (as proved in scripture);
- a solid and unwavering—although imperfect—surrender and devotion to Jesus Christ, the King over all the earth.
All of that from the simple realization that the Bible is not about me.
It is about God. And humanity plays a role in this grand story, yes. But we are not the heroes of the story. The story that God is writing with humanity is a beautiful act of redemption, which glorifies the Author of it all. God is writing His memoirs with us—and, let me tell you, the story does not disappoint.
So, there. You’re not the main character of the Bible… or of your life. God is the main character in it all. You don’t have to conjure up a legacy or a purpose, or try to seek your name etched somewhere in the folds of scripture. God is writing you into His story, so all of the work of how, when and why you show up in it belongs to Him.
He is inviting you to participate in this beautiful adventure—for you to look to Him to lead and for you to willingly follow.
So, let me end with a question–
Maybe you’ve never heard this before and you’re unsure of the theology behind the statement. I encourage you, then, to open your Bible—just start at the very beginning—and read a passage or two and ask yourself this one simple question, “What does this passage say about who God is?”
Let me know how it goes. If anything, I welcome the opportunity to revel in the scriptures with you and I’m available, if it helps to have a friend read along.