Speaking of Life

Tootsie Pop

It takes an average of 285 licks to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop. How important is that to us?

(3.3 minutes)
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Joseph Tkach

Joseph Tkach has been president of Grace Communion International since 1995. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Azusa Pacific University. For more information about him, click here.

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In 1896, a candy store owner in New York named Leo Hirshfield developed an oblong piece of chewy chocolate candy that he individually wrapped. He called it a “Tootsie Roll” after his five-year-old daughter. He sold the candy for a penny and it became a favorite with his customers.

Then he had the idea of putting the Tootsie Roll inside another of his customer’s favorites – a round lollipop. And so was born the Tootsie Roll Pop. There were originally five flavors – chocolate, orange, cherry, raspberry and grape. Some people – who must have nothing better to do – have calculated how many licks it takes to get to the center. The average is 285.

That is hardly the most important piece of information you will hear today. Well, here is another – it has been calculated that there are 31,174 verses in the Bible. That being the case, then the 15,587th and the 15,588th are the middle verses. They are found in Psalm 118, which makes it the middle of the Bible.

Wait – there’s more! It so happens that the Psalm before, 117, is the shortest chapter in the Bible – it is only 2 verses. And the following Psalm, 119, with 176 verses, is the longest. So, the middle of the Bible is flanked by the shortest and longest chapters in the Bible. That is an interesting coincidence – but that is all it is. Because whether this is actually the middle of the Bible depends upon which version of the Bible you are using. And, so what?

Sadly, this kind of thing causes some people to spend years searching Scripture for coded messages buried within the text. They use what is called “equal distant interval” letter searches. This amounts to nothing more than superstition. To study the Bible for this kind of information is about as relevant to understanding its real message as knowing how many licks it takes to reach the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop.

It causes you to totally miss the point – like those Pharisees who were warned by Jesus, “You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want” (John 5:39-40 Message Bible).

Don’t lose sight of the fact that Jesus is the ultimate, final, definitive word of God. He is the living Bible, and its true center. Don’t waste your time licking around the edges.

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