Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What an Investigative Detective Would Tell You

A chill steals into my windowed corner at the coffee shop, and I hunch shoulders protectively. Snowflakes and raindrops vacillate past the windowpane, disappearing into flash ripples in the puddles. The tiny sample cup of iced coffee sits full on the corner of my square wooden table, and I can't bring myself to touch its cold plastic sides again. I cradle instead my full-size cardboard cup of coffee, soaking up the emanating warmth.

My shower-wet hair dries slowly. Dampness dissipates while jazz music plays. Espresso machines hum and hiss, strangers talk in muted tones, and business executives open briefcases, pull out laptops, and consult their phones.

I inhale my warm pain au chocolate ("chocolate croissant"), despite telling myself to slow down. Buttery flakes encase two strips of chocolate and, too soon, I'm savoring the last bite, sucking the last bits of flavor from my tongue.

In my Bible readings, I've culled the eyewitness reports and interviews that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John compiled from their years with Jesus. They recounted, reported, verified, and narrated the events leading up to Jesus' death and resurrection. Luke, the doctor, prefaced his account thus:
       Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught (Luke 1:1-4).

John, the quiet powerhouse from the side calmly stated,  
         These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name; adding, Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written (John 20:30-31, 21:25).

Policemen and detectives, trained in intelligence-gathering and suspect-interrogation, declare that the way these four Bible accounts are handled points to their veracity and reliability. Truthful witnesses' accounts of an event will support each other but have enough variances that illustrate their unique vantage points and memories of the event. Dishonest witnesses will have collaborated on their story, and the details will all match exactly -- unnaturally. Their arguments won't stand up to time and scrutiny.

Two thousand years later, the Bible consistently passes all tests of accuracy with unprecedented high scores, far surpassing all other historical texts. Atheists like C. S. Lewis, who set out to disprove the Bible, and investigative journalist Lee Strobel have since capitulated to its veracity and are now ardent fans.

I doff my cap to their prowess and pull the Bible closer across my coffee table. Turning to Acts chapter one, I am eager to see what happens next. Outside my window, raindrops turn to snow and fall faster.

(Photo credit: Snowshot, Creative Commons, cc license)

18 comments:

Bill (cycleguy) said...

I'm jumping to the end of the book to read what happens. :)

TC Avey said...

I just started re-reading Acts myself. Each time I read the Bible God shows me something new!
So much to be found in His Word.

Linda said...

Love the authenticity of God's word. Your post was well written and explanation of the enduring truth

Brian Miller said...

its cool how when we read, based on the circumstances in our lives, the scripture is opened up a bit more to us...and sometimes we dont understand until the moment we need it and the scripture comes back to us...

passagethroughgrace said...

Thank you for your fresh insight. My church did a message series and part of it highlighted the history of the Bible and that it has stood the test of time. I love that we have this book to read over and over to learn more about God, His truths, His promises and all the gifts He gives to us. Many blessings to you today!

plantingpotatoes said...

wow....sounds like you have far more interesting bible time than I do! :) very good read! Often times, the world does miss the fact that that we are reading eye witness accounts rather than some sort of fiction!

Floyd said...

Awesome post, Jennifer. I love how you spoke truth and turned it into a story that helps draw he reader in and drive the point straight to the heart!

Lisa notes... said...

This is a beautiful picture of Bible study: exciting and revealing and confidence-building. Thanks for this glimpse, Jennifer.

Brandee Shafer said...

This is really good, Jennifer. You've really given me something to think about. I'd never considered before how the gospels provide different, human perspectives without contradiction. I do remember hearing someone say, once, that Luke's words ring out like a true physician's; I wish I could remember why (s)he thought so.

I'm following your blog as of today; I don't know why I wasn't before? because I so appreciate your encouragement and the heart behind it, and I want to do a better job of being your friend.

Jennifer Dougan said...

Bill,

(grinning) Good idea! It ends with the good guys winning, huh? :)

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

TC,

Isn't it great how God does that in us when we read it? I love that too. What neat things are you seeing in Acts this time through?

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Thank you, Linda. I love how God's word endures and teaches.

Have a nice weekend,
Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Brian,

It's true, isn't it? Our experiences, the things we've learned or gone through, all impact how we read a verse or section later on. I love that his words never changes and yet it is always relevant.

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Oh, Passagethroughgrace, I agree. How neat that he is someone who wants to reveal himself to us, too.

Have a great weekend,
Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Planting potatoes,

It's so easy for me to fall into scanning a section on automode, if I don't remind myself to engage and really focus. These methods help me. I bet you have neat times of learning too.

It's nice to have you here.

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Thanks, Floyd.

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Thank you, Lisa.

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Brandee,

Thank you! I don't know why I didn't do that already to you either. I'm always typing in your site address anyway. :)

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougane.com