An older preacher told the story of a young minister interviewing for his first pastorate. The pulpit committee had invited him to come over to their church for the interview. The committee chairman asked, "Son, do you know the Bible pretty good?"
The young minister said, "Yes, pretty good." The chairman asked, "Which part do you know best?" He responded saying, "I know the New Testament best." "Which part of the New Testament do you know best?" asked the chairman. The young minister said, "Several parts." The chairman said, "Well, why don't you tell us the story of the Prodigal Son?" The young man said, "Fine."
He proceeded thusly: "There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, who went down to Jericho by night and he fell upon stony ground; and the thorns choked him half to death.
"The next morning Solomon and his wife, Gomorrah, came by, and carried him down to the ark for Moses to take care of. But, as he was going through the Eastern Gate into the Ark, he caught his hair in a limb and he hung there forty days and forty nights, and he afterwards did hunger. And then the ravens came and fed him.
"The next day, the three wise men came and carried him down to the boat dock and he caught a ship to Nineveh. And when he got there he found Delilah sitting on the wall. He said, "Chunk her down, boys, chunk her down." And they said, "How many times shall we chunk her down, till seven time seven?" And he said, "Nay, but seventy times seven." And they chunked her down four hundred and ninety times.
"And she burst asunder in their midst. And they picked up twelve baskets of the leftovers. Now, let me ask you all a question. In the resurrection, whose wife shall she be?"
The committee chairman suddenly interrupted the young minister, and then said to the remainder of the committee, "Fellows, I think we ought to ask the church to call him as our minister. I know he's awfully young, but he sure does know his Bible!"*
A number of years later, as a Pastor, I told this from the pulpit myself. As anticipated, I got a pretty good laugh. However, as I have now retold it, in varying contexts down through the years, I have begun to notice a disturbing trend: less and less people laugh!
Why is this? Well, it could be because they have all heard it before. But I have observed that people still laugh at many other “oldie but goodie” type jokes that are told over and over again. No, I fear something else is at play here. I fear fewer and fewer people laugh because, in reality, fewer and fewer actually know their Bible!
The simple truth is that people used to read the Bible; but now they don’t! And the consequence of this is that they increasingly lack even a rudimentary knowledge of the Bible, its stories, and its teachings. And when one does not know his or her Bible, the subtleties of the humor in the above piece are completely lost.
What about you? Did you find any humor in the above piece? If not, why not? Had you heard it already? Or did much of the humor it contains just go unnoticed because of a lack of basic Bible knowledge on your part?
Of course, the purpose of the reading the Bible is not just to gain knowledge of or familiarity with its content. The purpose is to read it and then to apply its principles, thereby allowing your life to be transformed.
So, why not make 2014 the year that you finally read the Bible for yourself, familiarizing yourself with its contents? After all, it is fairly easy to do. Just pick it up and start reading. But far more importantly, after reading it, why not then begin to apply its teachings to your life? More than just becoming a smarter person, you will then become a better person. And that is no laughing matter!
NOTE: Robert D. Luginbill, PhD, runs an excellent webpage on the importance of understanding both the right and the responsibility we each have as a follower of Christ in regard to reading and studying the Bible for ourselves. Check it out at: http://ichthys.com/readbible.htm. I think you will be glad you did.
*JOKE SOURCE: The original author is unknown. However, this story, which has been around a long time, is available widely in various forms on the internet. One such website is found here: http://jokes.christiansunite.com/Bible/The_New_Pastor.shtml.