The prince of Grenada, an heir to the Spanish crown, was sentenced to life in solitary confinement in “The Place of the Skull”—Madrid’s ancient prison. The prison’s name derived its reputation for being dirty, dreary…and deathly. Kind of like an ancient “Hotel California” where inmates check out any time they like, but they can never leave.
During his confinement, the prince was given one book to read: the Bible. With all the extra time on his hands, he read it hundreds and hundreds of times. The book became his constant companion.
After thirty-three years of imprisonment, he died. When the guards cleaned his cell, they found notes the man had scrawled into the soft stone of the walls using a nail. His notations went like this:
- Psalm 118:8 is the middle verse of the Bible
- Ezra 7:21 contains all the letters of the alphabet except the letter j
- The ninth verse of the eighth chapter of Esther is the longest verse in the Bible
- No word or name of more than six syllables can be found in the Bible.
When Scot Udell originally noted these facts in an article in Psychology Today, he commented on the oddity of an individual who spent thirty-three years of his life studying what some have described as the greatest book of all time—yet all he could glean from it was trivia. For all we know, the words he read never impacted his life…but he became an expert at Bible trivia.
Like the Prince of Grenada, I so easily fall into the trap of regarding the Bible as a book of facts. I become an expert in the unimportant. And my life remains unchanged.
Let’s Begin The Conversation!
In two-and-a-half weeks, we’re going to begin our journey together reading through the Bible in one year. My hope is that all of us will be transformed from the experience. If we’re reading in order to learn a bunch of facts, then all of us are wasting our time.
So how can we be transformed?
Since we’re building a community of people who will be spending the next year together, I’d like to open it up to you:
Share a time when reading something from the Bible changed you. What made the difference?
I’m anxious to read your comments–and I’ll share a little something after we get the “Bible Conversation” started.