Read Your Bible

How many times did I hear this expression growing up? It was probably stated hundreds if not thousands of times and almost came across like reverse psychology. I was made to believe that, even if I did read the Bible, I wouldn’t understand it because any view other than what the “anointed of God” described was heresy. Therefore, the phrase “read your Bible” came to mean “interpret the Bible the way we tell you to.”
Ironically, when I finally did start reading the Bible, a lot of what I was taught through the years came into question. I saw that there were a whole lot of gray areas that no one was allowed to dig deeper in to. Questioning was tolerated once or twice, but then I was told not to judge, that I was being doubtful, or just outright not to question. This confused me even further.
Because of all of this, I was too afraid to truly open up to most people because I felt I would be labeled as heretical if I did. I kept to myself and just mindlessly set through many of the teachings. There were some seeds of truth in all of this, but they generally got twisted, though this may not have always been intentional. Sometimes I wish that I knew then what I know now, but I’m realizing more and more that God has better timing then I do, and I can’t get the right words out in person anyway if God’s not behind them. To this day, I still have difficulty opening up in person, but I’m learning to just let God’s love flow through my actions and, where appropriate, he will manifest love in my words also.
This is still a learning experience and will always be. I’m seeing more and more what love really is, as exemplified by Father through Jesus. It seems that even our view of love has been twisted into something untrustworthy. Likewise, since our view of love is skewed, our view of God as love is also. We don’t trust in love so we don’t trust in God. Instead, we opt to trust in words on a page, regardless of how badly we may manipulate them.
We were created to be loved and to love others, but if we don’t understand what love actually is, we will only trust in laws and rules which do not have the capacity to love others. The very laws we so adamantly uphold, defend, and force on others in turn only show that we haven’t allowed the real love of God to truly fill our hearts.
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One thought on “Read Your Bible

  1. When I first came to the Lord, (in my mid-50’s, about 8 years ago), I started out listening to pastors and teachers of Bible studies. But I was always very uncomfortable with extreme fundamentalists in our own faith who appeared to preach a gospel that didn’t equate with what I was reading on my own. Even the pastors and teachers didn’t really answer questions I had. They, too, told me to read the Bible , but what version?

    I began to read on my own because I truly wanted to understand and become a follower of Jesus. I think because I had been an elementary teacher for many years, I was used to doing research and dove in with both feet. I began with two study Bibles: NLT and ESV versions. I read Lee Strobel, Dallas Willard, N.T. Wright, Richard Foster and Donald Miller. I began to be able to articulate to myself what I believed deep in my heart. Three years ago, I embarked on a 2-year course of study on Bible Interpretation with a PhD. who I respected – who treated all of his students with dignity and honor, and treated our questions with respect.

    All that to say that this is a journey. The Bible is a living, breathing work. Every time I read it or write about it, it says something new and different to me. It’s Spirit-breathed, and I honor the newness of it, the way it speaks to me as a unique individual each time I open it. I believe God speaks to us in ways we will hear him, in a time that we are ready to hear the things he has to say. You are right; it is and always will be a learning experience, and the more we are open to God’s love and grace, the more deeply we learn from the One who is our Master Teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

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