“Every Christian should have a favourite Bible verse”

That’s what I heard a Christian leader say a while back, though not in so many words. (More on that in the ‘The Rest of The Story’ section below.) In order to write this post, I got thinking about my favourite biblical figure, book and verse.

My favourite biblical figure…

My favourite person in the Bible besides Jesus Christ is Daniel. He was a man who, in the words of Eugene Peterson, displayed “a long obedience in the same direction”. Daniel faithfully served Yahweh for decades, and what’s more, he did it while in a foreign land surrounded by pagans and simultaneously serving high political office. He found time to pray regularly and to read his Bible, and to act on what he’d read (Daniel 9:1-3). And he received a glorious promise from the God he served.

I can only hope that I, like Daniel, will not outlive my love for my God and Saviour.

My favourite Bible book…

Is Jonah. In this book we see God’s love and mercy towards people who didn’t deserve it. God didn’t withhold His love from either the sulky Jonah or the nasty Ninevites. That gives me hope for myself: whether I feel entitled to God’s love or not has no bearing on His extending it to me.

I can only hope not to take that love for granted.

My favourite Bible verse…

This was a tough one, and I’ve settled on Nehemiah 6:8. Go on and click, you know you want to!

The rest of the story

In the wider context of what I paraphrased in the blog title, the speaker implied that proof of a Christian’s salvation was the ability to have a ready answer to the question, “What is your favourite Bible [fill in the blank]?” That sentiment is naive at best and misleading at worst.

The apostle James tells us that even the demons have orthodox beliefs about God (James 2:19). IMHO it would therefore follow that having a favourite portion of scripture has no bearing on your eternal destiny. Besides, the Bible is clear that the proof of faith in Christ is in obedience to Him (1 John 2:3) and a transformed life.

Further, having favourites isn’t conducive to learning from the entire Bible. Faced with the entire buffet of sixty-six books, we tend to gravitate towards what we like and are familiar with (just like in a literal buffet).  I had a first-hand experience of this as I read through the pristine pages of the prophets in my Bible last year. No highlighting, underlining, or notes in the margins as I had in the gospels and epistles. And yet even those pages had a lot to say to me about my God 2,500 years after they were penned.

In conclusion, I think it’s okay to have preferred bits of the Bible, just don’t neglect the rest of it. After all, the Bible has one overarching story, and reading it all is an enriching experience!