#368 – Biblical Blind Spots

I watched the new trailer for season five of The Clone Wars and I had no idea what was going on. I haven’t watched a single episode of The Clone Wars; it’s a giant blind spot in my nerd repertoire. We all have blind spots when it comes to nerdclinations and the same is true for the Bible as well. However, when we don’t know as much about Battlestar Galactica as we do Harry Potter there aren’t any real consequences. If we’re blind to parts of the Bible, though, it could impact our theology and how we live our lives.

Here are some common biblical blind spots.

Creation

The creation narratives at the beginning of Genesis are really important, pretty much foundational. They communicate to us that God is the creator and everything else that we can experience in the universe is the created. If we miss that point we could end up worshiping the sun, a statue or a powerboat.

Israel’s History

This is one of the biggest blind spots people have. We can know all the separate stories like Father Abraham, Samson and Delilah, David and Goliath and Daniel in the lions’ den. If we don’t know how all of those stories connect, though, we miss out on the larger narrative of the Bible. Maybe if we named Bible stories like Twilight movies people would see a better connection:

The Abraham Saga: Joseph’s Dream Coat
The Abraham Saga: Parting the Red Sea
The Abraham Saga: Bathsheba’s Shower
The Abraham Saga: Exiled

That might not work but it would get Abraham a lot of play.

Jesus

Jesus is even more foundational than the creation. If we have a blind spot with Jesus then we’re going to miss out on a lot. Some people have selective blind spots with Jesus. Some people see his moral authority and are blind to his compassion. Some people love his forgiveness but are blind to his obedience. When we look at Jesus we need to see all of him not just the parts we want to see.

Epistles

The epistles are one of my blind spots. When I took my bible knowledge test for ordination I struggled most with the epistles. The test listed a verse and I had to figure out what book it was from. One of my coworkers is great with the epistles and seems to have them all memorized. When we’re blind to the epistles we may not know how to find some important verses about what it means to live for Christ. Thankfully we have Google but a greater knowledge of the epistles would be better.

The Bible is an amazing collection of books. Knowing parts of it is great but knowing the whole thing is even better. If we can have an encyclopedic knowledge of 11 different Doctors, we probably have enough mental energy to cure our biblical blind spots.

What are some of your biblical blind spots?

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3 Responses to “#368 – Biblical Blind Spots”

  1. Hey, Scott – another fun idea for a post. I can give a more or less coherent account of Israel’s history until the kingdom divides, and then I can’t really tell you much until Jerusalem falls. Post-exilic history is still, I must confess, virtually completely unknown to me.

    One of the things that helped me, as a kid, appreciate the overarching story of the Bible – not just Israel’s history, but the bigger overarching story of God’s redemptive purpose in Jesus – was a series of books and records called “The Purple Puzzle Tree.” I had such fond memories of it I shelled out quite a chunk of change for a complete set on eBay not long ago, to share with my kids. I was disappointed to find it hasn’t stood the test of time all that well (in my opinion); but, as a kid, it prepared me to understand that Jesus is at the Bible’s heart.

    A better resource for helping kids get that today, I think, is “The Jesus Storybook Bible.” I love its subtitle: “Every story whispers his name.” Isn’t that lovely (and true)?

    I will say, in our defense, it’s probably easier to master the 11 doctors, or the Star Trek franchise, or any other geek canon, than Scripture, since Scripture came (on a human level) from so many different authors over so many thousands of years. I’d like to think I could watch Star Trek over and over and always get something out of it, but, as a purely human creation, springing only from mortal imagination, one day it will have no more treasures to yield to anyone. This is not to denigrate it, simply to say that the Bible is inexhaustible. Plus, even more important than filling in gaps in our biblical knowledge is allowing the Spirit to form us through the Scripture, to shape and reshape us until we conform more closely to Christ.

    I’m curious: in what denomination are you ordained? The PC(USA) also requires what students jokingly (and sometimes in frustration) refer to as “the Bible trivia test.” I personally don’t think it’s a trivial matter at all for ordained church leaders to have a ready, working knowledge of the Bible – but I understand studying for and passing the test was and is a real worry for some; and I’d never assert that being able to cite chapter and verse is anywhere as important as living the truth that chapter and verse contains!

  2. Oh, I meant to add: my whole family enjoyed “The Clone Wars” for its first two seasons, but then it started taking progressively darker turns and, I’m embarassed to say, it was my 10-year-old son who decided we shouldn’t be watching it any more. A little child shall lead, eh…?!

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