The Boring Bible

Why is the Bible so hard to understand? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

All Christians know about the Bible. The Bible is that book that you open it up and when you do God speaks to you in wondrous and powerful ways. We have sermons about how when the Bible is opened by a Christian that they will just learn something new about it every time and what a joy it is to read it.

For a lot of Christians, this doesn’t ring true entirely.

Let’s consider some other relevant information. First off, in our age, there is a sad tragedy in that we have heard the Bible all our lives so much that we have become familiar with it. Because of this, whatever our first impression of a Bible story can be, usually those are the ones that we have for the rest of our lives and when those get disproven, we don’t know how to separate them from the whole of Christianity. Could it be possible for instance that Christianity could be true and there not literally be a pre-trib rapture? I in fact know of Christians who are convinced that if the Bible is not inerrant, then Jesus did not rise from the dead.

This familiarity can make it so that we find it hard to read the Bible for the first time. Consider it like when you watch a movie with a surprise twist at the end, such as “Unbreakable.” Now you can still enjoy that surprise ending the second time, but it sure doesn’t have the same punch to it.

The other problem with this is our theology. We have affirmed many false beliefs about God. Consider this. Regularly it is said that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth. Thus, whenever we read the Bible, there is no need to study. God will tell us what we need to know and lead us into the truth.

First, this was said to the apostles and was about their teaching of what their Lord said and did in his earthly life. I don’t think any of us were around for that.

Second, if we really believed this, then do we even need a Bible? Are we to think that the Holy Spirit would have to have a book to communicate the message? Paul should have just written back to every congregation with the message of “Don’t you have the Holy Spirit? Just ask God. He’ll tell you.”

Third, we are not purely passive creatures. We have all manner of things that affect our outlook every day. Today, for instance, it’s been raining in Knoxville recently and my allergies are going berserk. That could affect some of my reasoning capacities. What if you’re tired? What if you’re really happy about something? What if you’ve just had a romantic day with the spouse or what if you’ve just had an argument? All of those will come into effect.

The great danger is that we can usually say that what we feel is equivalent to what God thinks about us. Where did we get this idea that God speaks through our feelings? Is there any Scriptural mandate for this?

The study of the Bible must consist of the study of other books. If someone does not think this, then don’t go to church. Why? After all, who needs to hear what the pastor has to say? You have enough on your own with just your Bible. If you want to know what the Bible says, it will benefit you to know what the most studied people have to say.

Some of you might be against having academics help you with the Bible. I hope not because first off, you won’t enjoy this blog, but most importantly, the Bible that you read has been translated for you by academics, unless you know Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic, and if you know those, chances are you have not only been helped by academics, but you are one yourself.

In fact, it could be when we read others and get their insights that those thoughts spark those of our own and we learn more about the Bible. If one stays on the same level with the Bible all their lives, it will lose interest. However, the more one loves something, the more they will want to know it and the level one’s on will keep growing deeper and deeper.

If you treat the Bible superficially, you will have a superficial understanding, kind of the way the new atheists do. Considering them on the Bible is like saying because you’ve had a high school course on evolution that you’re able to speak with authority on it. Not at all. You need more.

If we want to get a lot out of our Bibles, we will have to put more into the study of it. We will only get out of it what we put into it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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