If you’re on Facebook, you might have noticed the “movie quote” comment streams. The most common thread, in my circles at least, comes from the movie The Princess Bride. All you have to do is post a familiar quote, and before you know it you’ll have a comment stream a mile long!
If you want to find out who the real fans are, though, you have to dig a little deeper. “As you wish!” and “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!” are so well known that even people who haven’t seen the movie more than once or twice know those quotes! But only the real fans know the movie inside out.
My husband and I have watched The Princess Bride more times than I can count. I grew up on the adventures of Westley, Buttercup, and their companions. Our children heard most of the movie in quotes before they ever watched it the first time. During that first viewing, their laughter was as much from the “So that’s where that line comes from!” moments as from the movie itself.
One day, I decided to hop onto Facebook and see if I could draw out any of the “know this movie by heart” fans. So, I posted an obscure quote. Not many people got it, but I enjoyed reading the responses of the few who did!
I can’t help but think about our approach to Scripture when I contemplate quoting The Princess Bride. No, the movie has no deep theological meaning. It’s just a fun movie. But, it is easy to see the varying levels of fans with the Facebook quotes.
There are those who have watched the movie once or twice and can pick up on thematic quotes.
Then there are those who are more familiar with it – those who can pick up on references to the less prominent characters.
Then there are the deep fans. The ones who have seen the movie so many times that even the most unquotable of lines resound with familiarity.
Now let’s switch over to prayer and Scripture for a moment. When I pray for friends, passages or verses often come to my mind. They are often familiar verses that are frequently quoted or taught. Many times, I do not even really know the context of those verses.
I used to just pray through them as they came to mind and then move on. But one day I decided I wanted to go deeper. A verse came to my mind, and I decided to actually look it up. I read it in context and realized that the meaning went far deeper than I had ever realized.
I began to make this search a habit. When a verse came to mind, I looked it up. Sometimes, the context increased the depth. Other times, the context showed me how greatly I had been misunderstanding the verse. I began to learn how familiar passages truly fit into the bigger picture of the chapter, book, or even Bible as a whole.
The progression was exciting! And it has spurred me to go further.
You see, I don’t want to be an “I recognize that from the Bible” fan. I don’t even want to be one who can quote the familiar passages without a second thought. I want to go deeper. I want to be one of those who constantly goes deeper into the fullness of the Word. I want to dig into the context. I cannot imagine that I would ever have the whole Bible memorized, but I hunger to have familiarity with the entire context.
That’s going to take work. That’s going to take immersion. It’s going to take reading and studying and reading some more. Ultimately, it’s going to take a lifetime. It’s not like watching a fun movie until I have it memorized. Instead, it’s an intentional choice to know the depths of God’s Word.
That’s where I want to be. Oh what joy there is to really knowing the Bible that way! Will you join me?