I'm Just Starting to Understand the Bible

United States border

I drove up to the United States border guard. I have a Nexus card, so I didn’t expect much of a problem.

“Purpose of visit?”

“I’m attending a study week.”

“What are you studying?”

“Just the Bible.”

“Just the Bible?” he exclaimed. Point taken: there is no “just” the Bible. It is a book unlike any other, not even a book but a collection of books. Even if you’re not a Christian, you have to admit it’s amazing. But as a Christian, I see it as much more than a book. It’s my bread and nourishment. There’s no “just” the Bible.

“What do you do for a living?“ he continued.

“I’m a pastor.”

“How long have you been a pastor?”

“Over thirty years.”

“You’ve been a pastor for over thirty years? What could you possibly have to learn about the Bible?”

“You don’t know much about the Bible, do you?” I thought, but I decided it would be better to think these words rather than say them.

The conversation continued for another five minutes. He wasn’t happy that I was entering the States to study the Bible. Maybe he didn’t like Christians. Maybe he was having a bad day. Maybe he decided he didn’t like me. Eventually, he gave me waved me on, and we were both glad to be done with the exchange.

But I kept thinking.

Just the Bible. Why did I say that? Maybe it just came out, but I had better never think that it’s just the Bible.

Also, I thought, I wish he had understood that I could study the Bible another thousand years and still only be in the early stages of learning Scripture.

The more I study it, the more I see how much I have to earn. Sometimes I read passages I’ve read hundreds of times before, and a new insight leaps off the page. I puzzle over passages, and find that the longer I look at them, the more they yield. I never finish looking at a passage and think, “Yep. Got that one down.”

And then there are the relationships between passages, the allusions, the themes that run from beginning to end. I’ve been studying the Bible for a long time now, and it feels like I’m just getting started.

Lately, I’m studying Revelation. In the early hours of the morning, I lie in bed, wondering whether to get up yet or sleep a little longer. And then I think: Revelation is waiting. I get up, and I spend half an hour or so filling in my knowledge of this book that I’ve read and even preached before. I feel like I’m adding layers: every day I add a detail here and a detail there, slowly building what I know until it begins to look like something.

It’s a joy, and no matter how much I discover, it feels like there’s so much more to explore. I could spend a lifetime in one book of the Bible, and there’d still be more to discover.

Just the Bible indeed. I don’t yet understand it despite years of study, but I’m on my way. I’ll keep learning and keep feasting on Scripture as long as God gives me breath.

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada