Let’s be honest. The Bible is a difficult read and a bit strange. It claims God often ordered Israel to commit atrocities (“Now go, attack the Amalekites… put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys” (I Sam 15:3). I doubt God inspired that writer’s thoughts about God. The biblical truth is the writers may have gotten God wrong at times.
It’s not true we can’t know God unless we read the Bible
The majority of the people born into this world didn’t have a Bible or know of Jesus. The Bible can’t be the authoritative guide about God, because we disagree what it says for major moral issues. It is only intuitive that a Creator loves the ways their creations ought to love one another. Every reasonable human being respects the golden rule in relationships. God’s love and perfect human love are surely one and the same. Views of God that don’t seemingly lead to loving your neighbor more may be amiss, because they are contrary to our moral intuitions of perfection.
It’s not true the Bible claims only Scriptures is used by God to teach
II Tim 3:16 is often cited to suggest God only inspired Scriptures: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” The word Scripture isn’t in the original. The Greek word translated as Scripture is “graphis” or writings. This passage could be declaring: God can use all writings including Scripture, whether having right or wrong views of God, to equip us for good works. God may speak to use through other writings, even possibly mediums such as music, so we can be equipped for good works.
My personal journey with the Bible
Confession – I don’t read the Bible as much anymore but God and I still rock. Okay, I have a long way to go in my moral perfection journey, but I am inspired by God daily to pursue a legacy worth having. For years I would study the Bible hours at a time. Commentaries line my shelves and I even attended Seminary for a year. Unfortunately, I assumed I could only know God through Scriptures, and I failed to have enough respect for interpretations different than mine. Each has their own journey. Currently, I draw close to God by writing, reading books that discuss God, and listening to podcasts.
Why bother to read the Bible
The Bible does seem to be chocked full of wisdom. You can read the Bible over and over and come away with fresh insights for relationships. I am convinced God is delighted a recording of God’s beginnings with Israel culminating in the life of Jesus was written to encourage questioning and contemplating what a loving God is really like.
How should we read the Bible?
If reading the Bible, it is important to read the Bible with a questioning and open spirit. Not questioning the writers’ views of God or our interpretations that don’t make human moral sense can led to carrying out immoral acts in the name of God. Don’t read the Bible if it discourages you from loving others like you want to be loved. We may be better off without the Bible if a Book replaces our relationship with God and common moral sense. But God has drawn billions to do good and shun evil when reading and reflecting about God.
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