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We have a signboard facing the street on which the message changes each month

Current Sign

Terms and conditions (T&Cs) are inescapable these days. When you sign up for insurance, join a sports group, attend an event, make a purchase, visit a website…. almost everything we do comes with a little asterisk indicating pages and pages of fine print.

There are so many T&Cs in our life it would take hours out of our week to read them all before ticking every little box of agreement (the average time it takes to read one T&C is half an hour). So we don’t. A Deloitte survey found that over 90% of consumers do not read the online legal terms they agree to.

We click the box and hope in the benevolence of the service provider, or at least the laws governing the service, to protect us.

The Bible could be compared to T&Cs. It’s certainly a long document with some language we’re not used to. It’s often left unopened, unread, perhaps vaguely assented to. We could consider God as an obscure service provider who we hope wont take advantage of us for not reading the fine print.

However there are some important differences between the Bible and the usual T&Cs. Firstly, T&Cs are generally there to protect the service provider, not us. But the Bible is written for our benefit. Secondly, normal T&Cs are written in legalese which makes them rather inaccessible to most of us. On the contrary, notwithstanding some cultural references and vocabulary, the Bible has been written with the intention of communicating to us and for us to understand.

To continue the analogy, in the Bible the omnipotent “service provider” is reaching out to us, to provide us guidance on how to best “use” our life. More than that, in the Bible God is revealing Himself, coming close, and inviting us into a safe and intimate relationship with Him. The terms and conditions on offer aren’t about protecting God but us. Protecting us from our own mistakes and evil and the consequent punishment.

As God invites us through the prophet Isaiah:

“Come to me and listen. Listen to me so you may live. I will make an agreement with you that will last forever.” Isaiah 55:3

The Bible is indeed a very long read – longer than any T&Cs. But reading it isn’t an intellectual process, it’s a relational one. When you read the Bible you are getting to know your creator and yourself. Your creator is perfect and good. You are sinful and weak. When you tick the Bible’s I agree box you are entering a contract of eternal life and forgiveness. That’s why the Bible is the best T&Cs you’ll ever read.

Dear God, please help me to read the Bible, to listen to you and accept your offer of eternal life and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Amen.