Click here for the series introduction and Part 1: “Finding God in the Blood and Guts of Birth and the Big Bang” by Fred Tribuzzo

Part 2: “A Search For An Authentic Life” by Alec Ott

I remember a class the English department at my high school offered that intrigued me – “The Bible as Literature.” Part of me always wanted to take the class, but my tough class schedule never permitted it.

It may have been for the best that I never took the class, because there’s no telling how closely the curriculum would recognize the Bible as a sacred text. I grew up in the church, and faith has always come naturally to me, so the class likely would have left me restless and dissatisfied with its treatment of the Scriptures. After all, for believers, the Bible is so much more than mere literature.

But even the most faithful can see the literary beauty of God’s Word. Witness the dramatic account of Job’s plight, or immerse yourself in the astounding poetry of the Psalms. The narratives of Jonah, Ruth, and Esther rank among the best in the short story tradition. Jesus wove some of the most memorable word pictures, and the letters from Paul and other early church leaders impart wisdom and truth with eloquence.

In fact, the literary importance of the Bible became a catalyst in Andrew Klavan’s journey toward Christianity, as he recalls in his wonderful memoir, The Great Good Thing. Klavan admits that he began reading the Bible as a way of developing himself as a writer, because, as he writes, “at the heart of all Western mythology, all Western civilization, all Western writing, all Western thought, and every Western ideal, there stood a single book, the Bible, and a single man, Jesus of Nazareth.”

One of my favorite vignettes from Klavan’s youth in the book involves his surreptitious Bible reading and the time his father caught him reading the Bible. I would wager that Andrew Klavan may well be the only human being in history to receive the same rage for perusing the New Testament that many teenage boys get when they’re caught reading nudie magazines!

But Klavan continued reading, and even though his purpose wasn’t initially for spiritual development, exploring God’s Word made an impact on him that rippled for years.

The Lord made an eloquent promise through the prophet Isaiah:

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:10-11 (ESV)

In Andrew Klavan’s life, the fulfillment of that promise took decades, but God delivered. Klavan wasn’t pursuing a new outlook on life, nor was he looking to submit his life to any sort of spiritual authority. Yet, as his life went on, Klavan alternately sought the answers to depression, the antidote to creative droughts, the overarching purpose of life, and eventually he found all he desired in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

And to think that his journey began in a teenage boy’s bedroom in Great Neck, New York, reading the forbidden New Testament solely for literary purposes. Maybe there’s some value to viewing the Bible as literature after all.

The End

Part 4 coming next Thurday…