I want to do a series on my favourite Bible verses that are a bit weird.
I have a weird taste in favourite Bible verses. By weird I just mean they’re not exactly the ones you’d print on coffee mugs or t-shirts. Obviously I do think the verses that are constantly printed on coffee mugs are valuable–all of the Bible is valuable–but I think the level of cliché reached by constantly repeating some of these verses really puts me off. While I find the verse, “I have plans for you” interesting, when I hear it I tend to tense up because it’s so overused (and badly used) at this point. So I thought it would be far more fascinating to look at weird Bible verses that are still my favorites, rather than common ones. After all, all Scripture is useful for teaching, as Paul says, and Scripture is just chock-full of little surprises.
So here’s a Bible verse I love:
Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
- John 21: 25
I told someone this was my favourite verse once, and they just stared at me uncomfortably. I guess they were hoping I’d pick something more spiritual-sounding? But I think this verse is amazing, for at least two reasons.
First, I love books. I love imagining so many books that the world cannot contain them. And all of these books could be about what Jesus did! I love reading books on a huge variety of topics, but I also love the thought that there’s enough to say about what Jesus did that there could be that number of books. What we know of him in the four gospels just scratches the surface of everything he did in his life. It’s exciting to imagine what could fill all the books that could’ve been written about Jesus’ life–and someday we may in fact find out. If we spend an eternity walking and talking with Jesus, we will have time to hear enough stories to fill the whole world.
The second reason is that this drives home how beautiful the four gospels are. Out of such a vast amount of material about Jesus’ life, these four narratives were carefully curated and presented. Nowadays we have endless materials to write biographies as thick as our hands can hold if we want to, but works from antiquity took into account the limitations of creating literature at the time, as well as the author’s intention. So we can assume that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John thought the details they recorded really did matter (yes, even the genealogies!). It was worth spending parchment on.
Since Christians also believe the Holy Spirit inspired the human authors of scripture as they wrote, we can be confident that not only did the human authors think these particular details mattered, but God did as well. So what’s the purpose of some of the confusing detail we do have? Well, we have a lifetime of studying God’s Word to devote to learning about why. Why is it recorded Jesus wept, or that he was the Son of David, or… This is what Bible study is for.
So this verse expands the vision in my mind of what Jesus actually did on earth, making me step back in awe of what this God-humbling-himself-in-human form did while walking on the same dirt you and I walk on today. And yet, and the same time this verse underscores for me the importance of exactly what was revealed to us, that every word has its place. And both of these ideas excite me.
There is likely much, much more to unpack in this verse, especially if you know Greek and are skilled in hermeneutics. Feel free to share! This is just what first caused me to love this particular verse, and what continues to fascinate me.