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By KEITH ANDERSON
Someone asked me recently if I ever tired of reading the Bible. I had to say no because of many years of reading the Bible and the oft-repeated experience of re-reading familiar passages only to be surprised by some new insight or challenge. I like to think of the stories of the Bible as an old familiar friend with whom I’ve traveled many a trip these past 50-plus years. I’ve found the words of the psalmist to be spot on, that “God’s word is a lamp unto my feet.” (119:105) More recently, in this day of instant news and colossal amounts of daily information (how many emails do you sift through in a day??) I’ve been drawn to the biblical concept of wisdom.
The idea of wisdom was so significant in the Bible that it was personified as a woman, a physical being anyone would welcome in their company — no doubt to engage in conversation about one matter or another. Sort of like when we pick someone’s brain about a challenging matter and are looking for helpful clues. The book of Proverbs says more about wisdom than any other book in the Bible. In chapter 8 we read just how precious wisdom is: “Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold; for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her (vv 10-11).” More desirable than gold or silver! Wow!
So how does one learn more about wisdom in the Bible? Easy, by reading, studying, memorizing, or meditating on God’s word in search of insights, challenges and what I like to call “spiritual nuggets,” that is, sayings that feed your soul. Essentially, you know them when you stumble upon them because they speak truth in a way unlike anything else. Usually I don’t have to write these nuggets down because the words seem to leap off the page to be etched on my heart somewhere deep within. These spiritual nuggets become invaluable later in life as situations arise and these words help guide a decision or interpretation or to navigate a direction in life.
In the busy-ness of the summer season, why not take some ‘time outs’ to learn more about the wisdom of the ancient scriptures, for the need for understanding and clarity are as necessary today as ever. Make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding, indeed, cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding. Seek it like silver, searching as for hidden treasures! (Prov 2) And my guess is that the news of today will begin to look pale in light of the eternal stuff of life, the stuff that matters most to you — your loved ones and the community in which you live.
The Rev. Keith Anderson is pastor of First Lutheran Church.
Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.