It drives my wife crazy. Whenever I cannot find anything on TV, I go to Netflix and watch the show “The Office.” Currently, I have seen every episode at least three times and several I have seen dozens of times. I mean, if you have not seen the “Stress Relief” episode at least ten times you are missing out.
Honestly, it is not just this show I watch over and over. I have watched a few movies more times than I can count. There are other TV shows, like Andy Griffith, that I go back to again and again.
Why do I do that? Why does anyone do this?
I think there are several reasons for it. One, I enjoy the story. They make me smile and laugh. Two, the actor’s ability to say and do things intrigues me. Often, I am focused on the story the first time, and the next time I watch more closely. The biggest reason for me is that every time I watch them, I get something new. There is a subtle piece of humor, a funny look, and I have even started to notice the stuff in the background. Frequently the actors and directors were bored and added little touches to the set to add another dimension of comedy.
Why do I tell you all of this? Because I have found the same thing to be true of Bible reading. This year I am going through the Bible for the sixth time in the last ten years. I have read it from three translations, listened to an audio version, and this year, I am using a chronological Bible. Every time through, I notice something new. Three things I have noticed this year.
- The Unchanging Story of the Bible. I love that the Bible is always the same. The same stories that are told in a way to invite me into the journey with God. It is the same story the great men of old read that I am reading today. There is security in knowing the Bible is always the same.
- My Changing Perspective. Every time through the Bible, I hear different things because my life is different. I used to listen carefully to the passages about children. Now that my kids are grown, I hear different things. This is proven true by what I highlight and underline.
- The Subtle Background Story of the Bible. This year I am noticing so many more details. I have noticed the names of people and locations for the first time. Many of the people in the Old Testament have names that are full of meaning that gets lost in the English translation. The same is true for locations.
It has been said that the Bible is like the ocean, “It is shallow enough for a child to play in it and deep enough that the best diver in the world cannot reach its depths.” Lately, I am finding this to be true. There are layers of meaning and application that I did not notice just ten years ago.
So if you think that you know the Bible stories, I would ask you to reread it. There is far more there than you noticed the first time. Read it again. Read it over and over. I enjoy watching The Office reruns, but the Bible is far too valuable to only read once.