If the Bible is the main way God communicates with us, then imagine what our Church would be like if everyone actually read the Bible. We have a culture of devotionals or only a few verses a day. It would be like if you got a letter and you only read a couple of sentences at a time, or started the letter half way through. How effective would that be? It wouldn’t. By the time you finish you would either be very confused because you didn’t read the entire thing or you would have lost a lot of the significance that was in the letter. The Bible was written to be read, not pulled apart and picked through.
Before coming to Summit Semester my faith was quite rocky. From an outside perspective, I had it all going my way. I was a leader at our college group, I led a small group for a period of time, I went on mission trips, I interned in our global outreach department for a year and so much more. It looked like my faith was strong but deep inside I knew it wasn’t. I had no biblical basis for what I believe. I took everything that sounded good as truth. I was never one to go back to the Bible and check if what they said was correct. I just liked what they said and it made me feel good. This was no way to have a healthy relationship with God. If I was completely honest, I’m not sure if my faith would have lasted much longer like that.
When I would occasionally read the Bible, I would usually just read a devotional with a few verses. Here at Summit Semester we don’t necessarily stray away from that style, but we definitely do more than that. They have shown us the importance of reading large sections or even books at a time. By doing this we are able to see the whole story, not just a couple pieces of the puzzle. This has helped me begin to form biblically sound beliefs, and not just a bunch of heresy.
One of the major sections we got to read was the entire New Testament. This assignment was given to us to complete over the course of 48 hours. We had 2 days set out of our schedule just for reading. Many of the students, including me, were not very excited about this assignment. We wondered how in the world we could finish that many books in two days. Some of us didn’t even see the point of this assignment. I know for me, I was not looking forward to this assignment. I was oddly nervous the morning of this assignment. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, still not quite sure.
When it came to the actual reading, I had quite a different experience than the rest of the students. I had six hours of traveling to do that day to come back to the lodge. That first day I strictly listened to the Gospels and Acts. It was very interesting to hear the different experiences throughout the Gospels and the different sides of the story. But somehow they seem to beautifully flow together as one. The following day I read the rest of the New Testament. It was one of the most intellectually challenging things I have ever done. Before reading the New Testament we had to read Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, 1 & 2 Samuel, and 1 & 2 Kings. I absolutely loved seeing how the Bible is so beautifully intertwined.
Now, back to what our church would be like if we actually read the Bible. Seeing how the way we read the Bible here at Semester and how it has affected us is incredible. As a community, we are able to not only talk about the idea of God, but actually discuss and converse about God. Back at home, I hear so many conversations about God but I rarely hear them actually mention the Bible. They are only talking about ideas. When you have scripture to back up this idea it becomes more than an idea, it becomes truth.
Truth is what we need in our communities. Imagine what our Church would be like if everyone actually read the Bible.
Andrew Cook joins us from Covina, California. After attending the Summit Student Conference at Biola University, Andrew chose to continue his growth at Semester. Andrew’s heart for loving the unloved and abandoned has led him to devote his time to missions, both national and international. He loves traveling and embracing new cultures. At the lodge, Andrew might be found building relationships or improving his photography skills, or perhaps enjoying a quality cup of coffee. After his time at Semester, he plans to pursue a degree in Business Administration at Citrus College with the intention of combining his skills with ministry work.