Bible 101

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, January 22, 2014 0 comments

Okay, so this college thing makes you a lot more laid back about the pace at which you take things than back in high school. Before heading over to Bible study, I was already on course to arrive late. To me, that was fine, because I was tired and I needed something before I passed out. I didn’t tell you this before, but I am a wrestler and we too are in two-a-days, so Megan’s previous sentiments were perfectly understandable but I am a fairly driven guy. I knew I had to get plugged into Bible study and I knew I had to do it the first week if I was going to take it seriously. Nonetheless, I felt it necessary to stop by the local cafĂ© and grab a smoothie before making an appearance. I got a large peach-pineapple smoothie with whipped cream on top. Needless to say, it was glorious.

As I said, I was running a little, uh, very late. In fact, by the time I got back to the dormitory I was not even expecting this Bible study group to still be there. After all, I was arriving about a half hour late. The name of the group was Bible 101. Sounded cool and I was not super-well acquainted with my Bible anyway, because, let’s face it – it is really difficult to pick up the Bible and just start reading it. Regardless of this reality, my attitude was something of the sort of maybe I can teach these guys a thing or two.

I head up to the appropriate floor, which by the way, happened to be on my floor in the lounge area, and glance in to see if anyone is still hanging out. I turned the corner, straw protruding from my smoothie secured in my mouth, to see a handful of people (no more than six) huddled in the lounge discussing some passage from the Bible they had just read. One of them noticed me. A man, late thirties, tall, thin, and very kind looking.

“Come on in.” He said.
At this point, I’m slightly embarrassed. I hadn’t even had time to return to my room to grab my Bible. Still, I felt it would be rude to decline this gentleman’s invitation, so I came in.
“Hi. Is this Bible 101?”
“That would be us.” Was his reply.
“Good to meet you! I’m Ryan.” I spoke with absolute confidence, regardless of the fact that I was horrified to see that I was walking in on a Bible study that had been going on for about a half hour before I arrived. “What are your names?”
They all looked toward me and introduced themselves.
“I’m Tim,” said the tall man, “and this is my wife, Stacy.”
A gentleman that was shorter than I looked toward me, “My name is Nick.”
The next two were sitting together, clearly newlyweds. “I’m Stu,” said the man. “And my name is Ashley.”
The last one was a shorter woman, clearly not a student, sitting to the right of Tim and Stacy. “And I am Margaret. This is Bible 101. You should join us.”
It was a very warm environment. I could tell that these people had been together for a while. They all seemed to know their Bible’s very well. How did I know that? If you ever saw a small handful of people who were totally zoned in on a book as thick as the Bible, talking about it like it was familiar territory, you would have thought the same thing.
“You got a brain freeze, or something?” asked Ashley.
“Huh?” I was confused.
“Well, you haven’t said a whole lot. Tell us something about yourself.”
“Oh, well…I’m a freshman, I come from a big family, I wrestle – I actually just had my first official practices today, and I want to be a pre-med major.”
“Oooo, sounds grooling.” Said Margaret. “How’d your first day go?”
“Not so bad, but I have to say that my Biology class today was kind of rough.”
“I could imagine,” said Tim. “I took all of those classes a long time ago and they were tough back then. I can’t imagine how it would be now.”
We continued the small talk for a few more minutes. Then, I excused myself so that I could grab my Bible from my room. When I returned we jumped back into the Bible study.
“Okay,” said Tim, taking charge, “turn to Romans chapter twelve.”
My mind thought, “Romans, Romans, Romans…what’s Romans?”
“I’ll give you all a moment to turn there.” Tim said patiently.
I opened up the Bible from the front and started flipping quickly through the pages, keeping my eyes locked like a laser on the upper right corner as I watched the title of each book breeze by. I could not find Romans! I paused for a moment. My brief pause gave Tim the impression that I located Romans.
“Now, could we have someone volunteer to read verses one and two?”
Nick volunteered, “I will! ‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.’”
While he was reading, I thumbed to the beginning of the Bible again and noticed an index that told me the page number of Romans, “Page 1247.” I stealthily turned there in time to catch verse two…sorta.
“’And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Nick finished, and I was lost.
My Bible didn’t say what his Bible said. I checked multiple times to make sure that I was indeed reading Romans 12:1-2. It didn’t say anything about beseeching. What does it mean by ye? And my goodness, could somebody please teach the guy who wrote this some proper grammar!? But I thought about Nick’s reading and remembered that there are more than one translation of the Bible in circulation in English. I finally was able to make sense of it after thinking for a few minutes.

From that point on we went around the room and took turns reading. After going around the room, it was my turn and I was picking up after Stacy and I was reading verses nine and ten. Looking at the page, I was already confused, but I started reading anyhow.

“’Love,’” I paused a moment, because this word was above the following paragraphs, “’nine; Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Ten; devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.’”
“Um…” Ashley, I could tell was trying to be as polite as she could, “you know that you do not have to read the headings and the verse numbers, right?”
I was still confused. “What do you mean?”
Margaret walked over and pointed accordingly. “You see this word at the top, here? That is not actually part of what the Bible says. That is actually something that was added to help people navigate through the Bible. And these numbers,” she pointed accordingly, “you do not have to read the numbers.”

I was in awe. These people had to have thought that I was an absolute numbskull. But they were so patient and kind, nonetheless, as though this was something that happened all of the time. Despite their courtesy and humility, I knew that this was going to be a long Bible study. And these were just a few of the humiliating episodes I put myself through during the year’s first meeting for Bible 101.

Ryan’s first day of wrestling practice, school, and Bible study are complete. You won’t want to miss the next part of Ryan’s journey through college. The first day of wrestling practice was easy. Day number two, will be much more challenging. Be ready to see him get mugged in the wrestling room and how he deals with it.