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I was innocently sitting in a cool Melbourne cafe, when...

I’m in Melbourne for work. I like coffee so, for breakfast, I find one of those cosy, laneway cafes that are cooler than I’ll ever be.

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I’ve brought every piece of clothing I own because it’s so brisk. Seriously, Melbourne, what’s the deal? Besides a life-saving beanie, I’ve also got my Bible with me. An actual, hold-in-your-hand Bible.

“Why the Bible?”

A waitress drops off my coffee and asks me what I’m reading. The letter to the Philippians, in the New Testament. She looks intrigued yet confused. The Bible, I explain further. She seems OK with that, if still puzzled.

After eating some eggs and bacon, the waitress comes back to clear my table. She tells me how unusual it is to see someone reading a book. Not a digital device of some description. I smile and am about to get back into the real pages open before me when she asks me something I didn’t expect.

“Why the Bible?”

I look at her and see she’s genuine. She actually wants to know why I’m in a Melbourne café trying to keep warm and choosing to read not just a book with paper pages but why that book is the Bible.

I’m a Christian, is the first response I think of. I quickly follow with how I like reading the Bible each day as it helps me to know how to live my life. That’s what I said. When shockingly asked by a total stranger about why I’m reading a book that defines who I am, I managed to get a few sentences out.

Always be prepared to give an answer …

I’ve never thought about what my answer would be to that question asked by the waitress. I guess it’s kinda like expecting someone to ask “Why the Financial Review?” or “Why Instagram Stories?” or “Why 50 Shades of Gray?” Except for how unlike most of the things we read or are into, the Bible claims to be a book that serves up the living word of God. A book that points strongly and clearly to Jesus, the lord of my life.

I don’t quite know what the best answer would have been to the waitress’ question. But I’m glad she asked me because I’m now aware it’s possible. Someone might ask me why I’m doing something so counter-cultural as reading an actual book – let alone it being the Bible. And if they do, perhaps something else in the Bible can assist me in forming a meaningful response: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15. It’s in the Bible).

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Pray that you will be reader to give an answer.

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