September 18, 2008
Four Hs, One Bible
Not surprisingly based on my profession—both in the sense of what I do and what I believe—some of the best books, according to my rubric of four Hs—“hard to read, humble, humorous and human,” are consolidated in the Bible.
That the best books are hard to read is confirmed by King Josiah, who when read the books of Moses by his royal secretary, "ripped his robes in dismay" and ordered his court to "pray to GOD for me and what's left of Israel and Judah. Find out what we must do in response to what is written in this book" (2 Chronicles 34:19-20).
Humility pervades the scriptures, of course—not necessarily in the foreground, as a fair number of folks display precious little humility. But those cases generally serve as a kind of cautionary tale reinforcing the axioms that bubble up now and again: “Pride goes before a fall,” “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up,” and whatnot.
Beyond that, the Bible displays a savvy use of humor. The first laugh in the Bible is recorded in the book of Genesis, when old and childless Sarah overhears God promising her husband a son. She laughed out of bitterness, denying it to God's face when he called her on it. But the last laugh was on her, when soon enough she found herself groaning through childbirth and bearing a son, whom she named, appropriately enough, Isaac, or "Laughter." It's a perfect story, and it's just a scene. Plenty more where that came from.
And of course, it all comes together in the very humanness of the book—despite its divine origins. Much like its Messiah, the Bible shows divinity and humanity commingled in the best sense, so that in learning about God we learn something about ourselves, and in learning about ourselves, we learn something about God.
So there. You want to read something good, give the Bible a shot. And then, of course, dig around in the IVP catalog, if I do say so myself.