31st March 2014

Fracking The Bible 

“Jesus wept.”
John 11.35 (NKJV)

Fracking has been in the news recently. It involves drilling a deep hole into the earth’s surface, then at an incredible depth actually drilling horizontally before pumping in an explosive, water, and other lubricants, under pressure to release gas trapped in the rock. We are told that this has transformed the cost of energy in America and has the potential to do the same here in the UK. Well, if it helps to reduce the rising cost of energy that seems to be a good thing. 

But, being honest, I don’t really understand fracking or know whether it’s the right or wrong thing to do. The reason it lodged in my mind was because it highlights a good principle in regard to Bible study. In some ways the Bible is like the earth’s surface—there is a lot more underneath  than you might think. 

One of the joys of Bible study is that you constantly find new meaning in verses you have read and thought you understood for years.  Take the verse above, just two words and quite straightforward. A simple statement that a person called Jesus cried. 

But digging deeper we can ask questions. Who was Jesus? That might lead us through the book of John where there are different words that tell us who Jesus is. He is called The Word, The Light, The Lamb of God, The Good Shepherd, The Truth, The Way, The Door, The Bread of Life, The Resurrection. What do each of these statements mean? What do they teach us about who Jesus is?  Each of those statements could lead us into a deeper study. 

Then back in John 11.35, what was he doing in this situation?  Why did He not come immediately? Why did Jesus weep? Was he weeping because of the death involved or because of a lack of faith in the sisters? As we read the verses around verse 35 we see that Jesus has power over death. What is that teaching us? What does it mean for our Christian walk today? What does it mean for all humanity? 

Those two words might bring to your mind other questions than those listed. That’s the joy of Bible study. There is much more under the surface which we can enjoy thinking about and exploring. 

A further point is that just like fracking for gas which gives us energy for cooking and heating our homes, fracking the bible, digging deeper, gives us spiritual energy. The more regularly we study, the more we enjoy it, and the more motivated we become to keep doing it.  It also motivates us to pray, to ask for understanding and wisdom in reading the Bible. 

As we are human and have the day to day pressures of life to contend with it’s not easy to regularly find time for prayer and Bible study. All sorts of things demand our time and attention. So digging deeper helps to make our Bible study more interesting, less of a duty and more of a desire. 

The other major difference is that fracking for gas, far below the earth’s surface, requires expensive equipment, a suitable place to dig and a number of people involved in the planning, preparation and work required to succeed. For us, fracking the Bible involves no expensive equipment, just our Bible; no special place to do it, we can do it anywhere; and just the determination to set aside a time of the day, or every couple of days, or maybe even weekly when we do it. 

Enjoy digging deeper into God’s word and building a closer relationship with God. 

Loving Father, help us to resist the time pressures of this world and plan time to read and study your word. Help us to enjoy it so we are more motivated to do it regularly.

Study by Keith Hartrick


keithhartrickAbout the Author:
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds, a Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, and serves on the Church Council there.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association Community Centre
Pendas Way
LS15 8LE

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

Local Congregational Contact:
Malcolm Arnold
Phone:  01484-312347
Email: malcolm.john.arnold@ntlworld.com

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