Our boys have recently gotten into Pokemon go. If you don’t know what that is, it is a phone app that combines your camera and GPS to let you find Pokemon out in the world, capture them and train them.
The Pokemon concept came from a man in Japan named Satoshi Tajiri who collected insects as a child. His fascination with insects influenced many of the concepts in the game. Like an insect collection, when you discover new Pokemon, you catalogue them. Information is recorded about their size, weight, power, etc.
There as times I have viewed the Bible like an insect collection. You take various books, chapters and verses and pin them down in nice, neat lines in the case. You examine them, write down details about them, and observe them. You notice the difference and similarities between them. There is always renewed excitement when you find something new because you capture it, catalogue it and pin it down with all the rest.
This approach to scripture gives us a false impression of scripture in at least two ways. First, we can fool ourselves into thinking we have mastery over it. It is as if we are in control. We organize things in the way we want. We put scriptures with other scriptures to come up with interpretations that suit our traditions. Second, there is a necessary distance between the collector and their collection, often psychically represented by a piece of glass. Scripture is then thought to be observed rather than absorbed.
Let’s not insect collect scripture. Instead, let us come to know the Bible in a more holistic, contextual, submissive and intimate way. The Bible was meant to be read more like a love letter than a scientific guide to insects.