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Eric's Sunday Sermon; Tell Me What The Bible Means To Me?

Updated on January 2, 2016

"What does it mean dad?"

Son "it means this to me"
Son "it means this to me" | Source

Whahoo!

Let us cut right to the chase. The Bible is a “to me” book. It has to speak to you. It has to mean something to you. It needs to admonish you. It needs to inspire you. Get a grip the Bible and it’s meaning is a selfish endeavor. The Bible is a book that is personal to you. If you think differently I implore you to think again.

So the Bible is not for one person to tell another person what the Bible means. I am serious as a heart attack on that issue. That is the only rule about the Bible that makes total sense and will work for anyone willing to put in the effort to become acquainted with and in love with the Bible. I put the Bible down. Because I like to pick up another of my favorite Bibles. I think independently from the Bible,,, get in trouble and come back to the Bible. The Bible to me is not a Holy Book as much as it is an old friend. But nobody else can tell me what a single passage means. That would be crazy. How does another know what the Bible means to me?

Think of this: Someone quotes one verse out of the bible and tells me what it means. They argue? And they insist on what the Bible really means to me. That is total craziness. Take a fun verse: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Cool, sounds like sound advice. But to me it leaves the end open and so I interpret it to mean; Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, if you were them. You see one mother’s day my brother convinced me to go in with him and buy our mom two baseball gloves. She even used one once for fun. But we really got the gifts because that is what we would want if we were mom. Well we are not our mother. Actually I think my brother knew exactly what he was doing and it was not in love. But my brother read the Bible literally and then used that to his advantage. Not good and it taught me how to interpret the Bible for me.

I know heaven on earth.

Somewhere over the Grand Canyon
Somewhere over the Grand Canyon | Source

This is one of those songs.

To Me!

Preachers and Pastors.Get it out of your head now. They teach you a way of looking at Bible verses. They really are not telling you how to think. If you are turned off by preachers in general because you do not want to be told how to think, think again. Preachers spend a lot of time reading and meditating and going to school for preacher stuff and praying. They have awesome insight and are helpful if they are not thought of as someone telling us what to think about the Bible. If you have a preacher who is adamant that you see scripture exactly as she does then get a new preacher. Jesus taught in parables to teach us to think for ourselves. The cool story of the rich man asking how to get into heaven is a great example. To me he is not saying to make my wife and children live in total poverty. He is simply telling me to seek the riches of a fully spiritual life.

And woe be to the parent who insists to the child what passages mean to them. Almost all discussion of Bible should start out with “what this means to me” and then share. There is no “set in stone” correct interpretations of the Bible. It is called the “living word” for a reason and that reason is not so we walk lockstep with interpretations from 200 years ago or even yesterday by one extolling their own version of understanding. A cool part to put in right here is Jesus’s teachings. Normally when He referred to the Old Testament scripture He would phrase it like “you have heard it said that…..” He did not ever say that you are commanded by these sacrosanct words that you must. Maybe close a couple of times but never really that black and white.

What of the wonderful folks we all love and adore that are brand new born again Christians that someone has told what the Bible means to and are literally hell-bent on telling the rest of us just how on fire they are? Whoa! Amazing that in my advanced age with a few degrees from higher education and years of preaching under my belt that folk can actually look me in the face and tell me exactly what Paul means in “”or because of these great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.”” Really a fellow of 19 is going to tell me what that means, when he has no thorn and is just repeating what his preacher man told him? Craziness.

Or better yet the well-schooled individual. Can quote verse after verse with accuracy and is unhappy and upset with his fellow man for being so dense. That guy is going to tell me when Jesus is returning and why and where but he is unhappy? Not going to happen and he walks not what he talks so I will turn and run. I know the bible teaches me to turn my cheek a whole bunch of times and stay put obviously to let that happen,but I am weak so I run ;-)



The canyon we were headed in to hike was a flash flood magnet.

Tighten up your laces boy, your feet are going to get wet.
Tighten up your laces boy, your feet are going to get wet. | Source

Good enough for me!

Real discussion

The only real testament that we can give when it comes to the Bible is our life. I say “live like this”. No way no how do I say that with words. I say it by my life. If you want what I have then read the Bible somewhat how I do. Not completely please. Just perhaps in the same vein specially custom tailored for you. I am not old but I have been around awhile. I have bought suits off the rack and I have paid to have a Seville tailored. The ones tailored just for me make me look good, really good. The ones made for everyone make me look respectful but like everyone else. Perhaps we cannot all afford to take the time to get the Bible tailored just for us. Darn it but it is true. It takes a lot of time to read and reread the Bible and look up words and different translations and read about other people’s position on any given verse. You are busy and do not have the time. Drop down on one knee and reconsider that idea. You have years and years to do it in. The Bible is cool as it is not a read and put on the shelf notion. It lives in you if you give it a few years chance. My black leather bible is on my son’s desk. He has a reading a night to do for school and one night we read a book chapter from the Bible, fun to do.(no none of that "slewing" stuff) I have a green bible on the shelf next to my desk and a red one on my desk and several within sight in my office. I would like to tell you that today is a day of rest so I did not read a bible, but that would be a lie, reading the Bible is like rest combined with inspiration to me, it is refreshing.

Now let me go against everything I just said and tell you what to make of a Bible verse. Love your God with all your heart and soul. Cool concept. I pretended to be very upset with my son today and then we laughed. He told me that he loves Jesus more than me. I am quite certain his mother taught him that as he says he loves Jesus more than mom. But that is living. That kind of comes from the Bible but is translated in our home to mean that we got so much love that loving Jesus the most hardly takes away how much we love each other. In fact it adds to our love and makes our love stronger.

Oh I have said it before and will say it again. I am one, not a nice SOB, when it comes to certain aspects of life. I have done sinned. And I will sin again tomorrow. Fair ‘nuf. I just do not love my neighbor as well as I should and what I have gleamed from the Bible. I am a dog. But the Bible tells me that that is pretty much normal. Dang, I am not even special in my sin. God has been there and done that already with others.

Old women. I have met some real Jesus freak old ladies. They just can’t let me talk without interrupting with Amen. I suppose I preach love and love and love. They dig it. They know full well that I am a sinner and not worthy of their splendid company. But never ever have I met an octogenarian who has told me how to read and interpret the Bible except maybe to do it in love. Gramma Tam is awesome. She is old and really really loves Jesus. She is an elder in the church and a Godmother to my wife. She teaches my son about Jesus, not about Bible verses. She exudes love and walks the talk of Jesus. She quoted the Bible once to me, in Vietnamese, my Godson interpreted. Then she said in simple English “do you agree”. The verse was about loving enemies. I begged her forgiveness for I have trouble with that. She did not even waiver. She told me that I was forgiven by Him. That is Bible talk among adults.

I hope you quote the Bible. I do in my own way. I hope you know for you and yours what it means to you. I love it and I hope you respect it and the people it speaks to enough to let them hear rather than tell them what to hear. Amen

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    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 16 months ago

      Merry Christmas - Happy new year my old friend . that good ole classic , The Golden Rule ! Alive and well in the teachings from the days of Yor right up until the Sermons of Eric ! Oh man . Are we ever lucky ? Be well , go forth and keep on with these great sermon-izations !

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Great to here from you friend. You always just lift me up and I appreciate it very much. One of my new year resolutions should be to be more like you. This morning I am waiting for that good old sun to rise. I think it will be a great day and I wish you one also.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 16 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Your sermon talked to me this morning. I like that we can each read the scripture and know that we all do not see everything alike but the main focus, is love and do unto others as if they were you. The sun is shining brightly this morning and I am thankful. Water everywhere!

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 16 months ago from United States

      Your sermons hit home as always my friend. Many blessings to you and yours in the new year. whonu

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Here's the only quote from the Bible I need.....LOVE!

      Happy New Year, buddy. Keep on keeping on. As my old sponsor was fond of saying, "if you keep doing what you're doing you'll keep getting what you're getting"....in your case, that's a good thing. :)

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Ruby, it is a beautiful Saturday here and we have all kinds of fun to have. Love is the key that unlocks all the mysteries. May you have it now!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Whonu, your poetry inspires me very much. So it is always a treat when you come by and read my labor of love. Thank you.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you for your encouraging words Bill. If you like what I am doing, I guess I better get on board. Here is an interesting thing about quoting love from the Bible, other than you cannot go wrong. It is mentioned at least 300 times in good versions. I just love that.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 16 months ago from southern USA

      Happy New Year, Dear Eric!

      Yes, indeed, the Bible speaks His truth to us individually. I know this personally too. How sweet is He do reveal that special Word from Him to each of us. Rhema, a special word from God. I know He loves me just as I am. What a blessing!

      Peace and blessings always

    • profile image

      Commonsensethink 16 months ago

      OK, you asked for an atheist (secular humanist? Well I am) perspective. For the people who yesterday told me that I had not had a Christian upbringing (my late mother would have been surprised and maybe a little bit insulted by that comment) and anyone else who wants to convert me (I am a really nice guy - ask my Buddhist wife some time - but I know my own mind and there is no way that I will be converted!), check out Matthew 7.5 ("Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.").

      My other comment is to read the Greek creation myth, the Norse creation myth, and then the Jewish creation myth in Genesis, and simply throw it away. It is unscientific nonsense (talking snakes????).

      Words of wisdom from the late Buddhist teacher, Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera, upon the origin of the universe:

      "The Buddha did not waste His time on this issue. The reason for His silence was that this issue has no religious value for gaining spiritual wisdom. The explanation of the origin of the universe is not the concern of religion. Such theorizing is not necessary for living a righteous way of life and for shaping our future life".

      I would (politely as ever) suggest that this also has some Christian applications.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Faith, it becomes evident with you that because God loves you, you love yourself in a very healthy way. Then you share that love and that is wonderful for me. As the Bible speaks to me, so do good friends like you. Thank you

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Tony that was great. My wife the former Buddhist and I still retain many great teachings from Buddha. I do not see Christianity and Buddhism as mutually exclusive. Our Bible likes to fill in gaps. So as Christians we get to put into priorities that which we meditate and study upon. Personally I hesitate to use the word religion or religious unless I am speaking directly about structure and hierarchy of churchy stuff. Christianity to me is more about a personal relationship with who I believe is God.

      Please come by and comment on my sermons, we could use your perspective more, not less.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 16 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I loved this week's sermon Eric. I agree that we all need to interpret the Bible for our own particular circumstances. The messages contained within the "living word" are not cut and dried and set in brimstone. I even took my family and left one church because we they tried to tell us exactly how we should interpret the Bible...even making us dispose of and destroy certain prized possessions and books because they were "false idols" and taking our focus away from what was important. That churches view was that the Bible teachings were "black and white"..no shades of grey, and I didn't agree. So we changed churches...and I have no regrets.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John you remind me of the awesome duty and admonition given to our young youth leaders and teachers. What a responsibility they and parents have to guide rightly. The say husbands also, but nowadays it also means wives thank God. I am proud to know a man who recognizes issues such as you have, and even more so that you took action.

      Hey do you guys celebrate what we call Tet New Years down there?

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 16 months ago

      Oh my God Eric , be careful of what you wish, To be like me would diminish your aura , you sir are a good and giving man , to be more like me would lower you to places where you may not recover from ! I wish I was as giving, as loved and as wise as you in the ways of Godspeak! Worry not my man , God is waiting for us to emulate you !

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 16 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks Eric..."Tet New Years"? No, what is that?

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John -- it is the SouthEast Asian version of Chinese New Year, from peoples around the Mekong.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ed you make me blush with vainglory. Perhaps if we keep sharing with each other we can both grow together. Thank you

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 16 months ago from The Caribbean

      Happy New Year, Eric. Great focus for a new beginning--reading the Bible for what it says to the reader, not primarily to tell someone else what it says to them. No argument necessary!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora,

      What love we find in the Bible.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 16 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric - I feel very fortunate to have a Pastor who is fluent in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin and so can go back to the original writings and explain them to us. That said, I agree with you that the Bible speaks to all of us--although all of us hear the same words, each of us does not have the same needs at the same time. I gain what I need, and the person next to me might gain something else. The Bible speaks to all of us. Thank you for such a great Hub to begin the New Year.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Beautiful my friend. I think we have the room in our lives to love each other. I know you do and you show it. I am that naked, poor, sick prisoner and you have clothed me with love. Do well and be well.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 15 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      Too many people are trying to force their own understanding of the bible on others. I believe the scriptures speak to us differently sometimes.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dana it is that part of world that I like best. We are the same yet we are all special. Like precious children. I am glad you are different than me.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 15 months ago from Shelton

      Happy New Year Eric, and what a wonderful sermon you have here to kick off the new year blessings my friend :)

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks much Frank. So far the year is going great. My wife tells me that the first week sets the tone for the whole year.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 15 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      'Do unto others' I remember a misquote of that we used to live by in the Army, it ended with 'only do it first!'

      Thats me being cheeky I know, but when people say 'the golden rule' that's what comes to my mind as that's the way I used to be!

      Karl Barth once said "the Bible may bot be the word of God, but as the Holy Spirit takes it's words and applies them it becomes God's word to you!"

      I agree. We can't and shouldn't tell others what it means to them.

      Great hub

      Lawrence

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Lawrence,

      I like a good preacher with a good sermon. That almost always means he speaks about the scripture with a passion for what it means to him, or a learned translation and position. Or maybe I just don't hear the shoulds and musts anymore.

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