Written for those new to the riches, puzzles and complexities of the Bible, Lucy explores a single theme – ‘the big journey’ of God’s people – in order to help the reader better understand their own journey in life and in faith.
With wisdom, insight and humour, she connects Old and New Testament stories to each other and to 21st-century experience. For example, she links manna in the wilderness to the ‘daily bread’ of the Lord’s Prayer, points out that ‘Jesus walked the journey of his ancestors before he was old enough to spell “pyramid”’, and compares slavery in Egypt to modern forms of slavery in plain sight today.
Chapter by chapter, Lucy explains the different kinds of writing within the Bible and the different perspectives of the writers.
The perfect introduction
For anyone who wonders where to start reading the Bible, this is the perfect introduction and companion, especially for these difficult, restricted days, when concentration can be hard. And when we can get out and about again, it will, writes Lucy, ‘fit in your bag or pocket, so it can go with you to the place where you have time to read it – on the bus or train, in the cafe or playground or on your lunch break. Scribble on it; wave it at your local minister or Christian friend and make them answer your questions or listen to your theories. Safe travels!’
Here’s chapter 1, to encourage you to lace up your imaginary hiking boots and slip your lockdown leash.
The Lord made a garden in a place called Eden, which was in the east, and he put the man there.Genesis 2
The Lord God placed all kinds of beautiful trees and fruit trees in the garden. Two other trees were in the middle of the garden. One of the trees gave life – the other gave the power to know the difference between right and wrong…
The Lord God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it. But the Lord told him, ‘You may eat fruit from any tree in the garden, except the one that has the power to let you know the difference between right and wrong. If you eat any fruit from that tree, you will die before the day is over!’
If you live at a time when your culture is deeply connected to the planet, its plants, animals, seasons and rhythms, and you want to describe how the world began, you’re not going to start with the Big Bang. Story is much older than science as we understand it today. It holds a different but equally valid sort of truth.
‘Story is much older than science as we understand it today. It holds a different but equally valid sort of truth.’
Look at what the opening chapters of the first book of the Bible tell us about who God is, in what spirit the heavens and earth were created, what God’s relationship with human beings was in the beginning and how God meant the planet to be.
One aspect of this perfect state of being is that we see God and humans working together in a beautiful garden, enjoying each other’s company and the place made with them in mind.
Work is a pleasure. Other people are a delight. God is present and active. There are safe boundaries. The rhythm of work and rest is perfectly balanced. The natural world thrives. It is an entirely content, purposeful and fulfilling state of being. It is home.
Think about your own home today and thank God for anything in it that reflects Eden.