Home > Love & Grow > Dr. Gwang Soo Han: It’s Not Easy to Read the Bible

“Spiritual disciplines” are things we do to stay in love with God and grow in faith.  They can be things we do alone or together; they can be ways to spend time with God or to serve others.  As the people of Sylva First UMC share one of their spiritual disciplines with you each week, we hope it will inspire you to new ways of loving God and growing in faith.

It is not always easy for me to read bible. A simple way, probably read loudly rather than silently, is to accept each word as written rather than as I do, sometimes critically. It may seem arrogant and audacious even saying reading critically. Bible is God’s word, spiritually instructed to each authors of books since He stopped talking to human beings since Pentateuch as He did to Moses.

I have not picked up a habit reading as most of our brothers and sisters do.

Two epochal events literally exploded during last twelve months, one very disastrous natural (?) event, pandemic with Covid virus and the other very likely manufactured by politicians in supposedly almost routine every four-year event: presidential election. I am not interested in mudslinging in argument defining what is what, but just like to point out that there are always different ways interpreting even in as sure as we thought to be even in God’s work.

My name is Gwang Han, a member of our loving church in Sylva since 1976 though most time invisible. I had an experience of missionary medical work in Africa after retirement from my practice in 2009 as I had long planned to. I promised three months to God.

As we, many times, experience in our daily life, the plan and execution and result do not turn out to be as expected even in Gods’ work because we human beings are assigned to carry out using our own judgement and work habit, mostly interpersonal relationships in teamwork. I was somewhat in indelible situation mainly because of difference of expectation between a young doctor who just finished her training and an old retired doctor expected to receive some respect.

There was another doctor from Texas who has been doing research of HIV, very prevalent in Africa on his annual visit. He recommended me to read a book, JOB in old testament when I had consulted whether enduring rather superficial annoying situation or breaking my promise to God.

I felt aghast and stunned when I tried to read it; a story being a sort of silly betting between God and Satan whether Jobs would eventually betray his God once he was tested as Satan tried in various ways by destroying his livelihood and his family.

It took me a long while after I came home breaking my pledge spending two instead three months as I had pledged, to figure it out what the message was, and It was too late to comprehend the real message from the book why he recommended me to read, and I broke my promise just like that blithely.

Still, I do not know how to read Bible. Perhaps reading bible may be like peeling onion skin, a bitter on the first layer, different meaning on next peel and on and on. Arrogance is one of the sins, I believe.

Gwang S. Han, MD