As a minister I get asked a lot of questions. These questions range from “Where did Cain’s wife come from?” to “How can I forgive someone when I am hurting so bad?” and everything in between. A question that I get a lot is “what is your favorite Bible verse?” The Bible is a big book so as you can imagine I have a lot to choose from. The problem with answering this question is that the answer is never same day to day, month to month, year to year. Why? Well, things happen in our lives that change the way that we approach the scriptures. For example, my daughter and first child Violet was born on February 1. Before her birth, passages in the Bible that referred to a parent/child relationship or even the notion that God is a parent didn’t really mean much to me. But after her birth, those passages took on a whole new meaning. It was because my context had changed. My outlook on life and what was important to me was different. Those passages were something that I could relate to because I was a parent now.
Having a favorite Bible passage is something that evokes for us memories of a time when we felt close to God or maybe someone. For me today my favorite passage is 1 John 4:19- “We love because God first loved us.” (Common English Bible, 2011). This passage sums up my understanding of God, the ultimate source of all love. The only reason we have the capacity to love another human being is because God loved us first. I believe that this passage calls on all of the followers of Christ to remember the free gift of love and to share it willingly with others, just like it was given to us.
Does this mean that tomorrow I might change my mind? Maybe, the fact remains that our relationship with God and the Bible is a growing relationship, not a static one. I once heard pastor and author Brian McLaren once say that we should stop going to the Bible to only reinforce what we already know about God. If we heed these words, then we will have a mountain of favorite passages throughout our lives.
Rev. Evan M. Dolive