Ever since I was young boy, I have been into computer games. Especially the kind where you build a character and find items, weapons and armour to help you on your quest. I think it started with the gameboy advance Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers game, and then progressed to Morrowind and Dark Souls:
One of the common dilemmas I faced with these games was the decision to use a two-handed sword or a one-handed one. I always preferred the benefits of a one-handed sword (faster attacks, more agile, could carry a shield as well etc). However, the hard truth was that a two handed sword – more often than not – did more damage!
So, why am I telling you all this!?
Well a few months ago, I purchased myself a study bible. I really big and fancy one:
It’s called the Spurgeon Study Bible. And as the name would suggest, it’s compiled of various notes from Spurgeon’s journals and sermons etc. (My love of Spurgeon is due a separate post)….but the point I’m trying to make here, is that this Bible is a whopper of book, especially in comparison to the Bible I’ve been using all my life.
The thing is, despite how much I love the Spurgeon Bible, it’s ascetic, the notes (of which I have barely scratched the surface of!), and the history behind it. There is an undeniable increase of friction in using it.
Because of its size, I can’t simply whip it out, carry it around, quickly reference from it. Preaching from it is slightly more complicated as it takes longer to find the passages with many more page turns. (I am so familiar with my ‘one-handed Bible’!)
Now praise God, this is a ‘dilemma’ I’m facing! That I have the luxury of choosing which Bible version to use! (But this is not – at its core – only a first world problem, this is a human problem.).
We must learn:
It is no good having fancy toys and cool gadgets (be they Bibles or phone-apps, guitars or organs, impressive buildings or small living rooms, large congregations or small ones, church planting movements or prayer initiatives….) None of it matters if it distracts us from God.
I think of Samson and his strength. It was of no use to him, in fact it did him a lot of harm, when He did not allow it to bring Him closer to God. I think of Solomon and his temple. What good is a grand temple, when we refuse to honour God with our lives. I think of the Israelites and their mountain-top experience. All the thunder and glory around them, and yet they choose to stay far away, and get distracted by a golden calf. How often do we let materialism, experience-hunting, qualifications, study, books, worship music, teaching, podcasts…actually distract us and make it more difficult to meet with God.
A two-handed sword is no good, however powerful, if it is always sheathed. For this reason, I’ve put “my one-handed” Bible back on my desk. Whatever must be done!