Lately I’ve been re-reading parts of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and have been reminded of many truths, one of which is that it’s not about Me…or You either as far as that’s concerned. What I like about this book is that it’s easy to read and understand and that Warren uses tons of different scriptural versions of the same passages.
About the being easy to read and understand comment, I’ve learned that many people are opposed to the book for that very reason. “Oh, I look at it sometimes,” an acquaintance said, “but it’s not very deep, is it?” Hmm. Well, maybe not. But one of the things I love about the stories that Christ told was that they weren’t deep in the sense that his followers couldn’t understand him. He used objects, events, and the things of nature to teach people…the things of daily life that they knew and were familiar with. At the same time, there were layers of meaning within his sayings and sermons that confounded even the esteemed scribes and Pharisees.
About the different versions of the same scriptures, I’ve also heard criticism about that. While I prefer the King James Version of the Bible, I’m not so naïve to think that works translated from Hebrew, Greek, and Aramic are going to be completely accurate. Just think for a minute about all of the possible things that could be misinterpreted when “mortal man” is dealing with issues of translation, foreign language, idioms, hard-to-decipher handwriting, and damaged paper. The Old and New Testaments were written over a period of several centuries by many, many prophets who lived at various times. Truly, does anyone really know EXACTLY what was said in the Garden of Eden? Even the versions written in English are different, and I don’t even know what language Adam and Eve spoke.
Here’s an example. Mark:16:15 of the King James Version says, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” The New Century Version says, “Go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone.” What I think is that God knows how different we are in our learning styles, preferences, and perceptions, and He has allowed and perhaps even encouraged these different versions in order to reach every soul.
So back to the original thought behind this post. Maybe to some people, Warren’s writing might not be deep enough, and others might be opposed to his use of different versions of the scriptures. But can anyone doubt his sincerity? Can anyone read this book and not feel divine power behind it?