The Bible is an immeasurably interesting book and most nay-sayers probably haven’t given it a good read. Why is it so interesting? Because it is a book of books written by people trying to understand their world and look to the future. In other words, the Bible is about people and to borrow from Stephen Ambrose, there is nothing more interesting to people than other people living at different times and in different circumstances.1
That the Bible is an anthology should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with it. We have poetry, proverbs, prose as well as epistles, apocalypses, and quasi-biographies. We have erotic literature, a theodicy, and a treatise expressing existential angst. Sometimes the authors confirm each other’s views but other times they are in contradiction. This tension makes reading the Bible interesting! It should be celebrated and not glossed over by many Christians or even wiped away by the hermeneutical gymnastics of the pop-apologists.
It is for that reason that this video featuring author David Ellis Dickerson perplexes me. That networks would propose the creation of a show about a book like the Bible and want to avoid all the things that makes the Bible interesting speaks more to the weak demeanor of modern evangelicalism than to anything else. He tells the audience that certain books were off limits and even certain words.
It comes as no surprise The American Bible Challenge only lasted three seasons.
1 Stephen Ambrose, To America: Personal Reflections of An Historian (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2002), xiv. Ambrose was actually addressing an undergraduate he had in his class who told him that he hated history and was only in his class because it was a requirement. Ambrose wrote,
My reply was, “You don’t mean that. You don’t hate history, you hate the way it was taught to you in high school. But history is about people, and there is nothing more fascinating to people than other people, living in a different time, in different circumstances.