When I first created this website I said that I didn’t want to ask Christians to read the Bible because that should already be a part of their lives. What I’ve learned since then is that it’s a little naive of me to believe Christians are already doing something. The ministry is called “Christians Being Christians” and I don’t want to leave out aspects of our faith just because I assume people are already doing them.
The challenge is to read your Bible this week. I’m not going to give you a time frame or an amount of words or chapters. That is totally up to you. Make a commitment and follow through. You can’t do the stuff that Jesus said to do unless you know what he said to do. All I ask is that you do more than you did last week.
My advice for reading the Bible is to find a version that is easy to read and to study in context. If you are reading a letter in the New Testament, then try to figure out what type of people the writer was addressing. I used to take that for granted and it created a narcissistic view of the Bible. I thought everything that was written was somehow directly addressed to me. I wrote myself into the Bible. If this offends you then check your own view. I don't believe the letters were addressed to us, but God will still speak to us through their contents.
Don’t get it twisted, I totally think that the Bible was inspired by God for today’s believer. We are churches, just like the churches that the letters address. Nothing is new under the sun. Christians still deal with many of the same issues that believers of the first churches had. As Christians, we are asked to read the Bible knowing that if God shows you something that you don’t want to get rid of in your life; you should let go of it as fast as possible. If he calls you to do something; you should run into it with every part of yourself. We need to be willing to die to ourseleves and have faith that he knows what he’s doing.
One example that showed me the importance of context was when I read how Paul said to address sin in a church. In a letter to the Corinthians he says to remove someone from the church; to give them over to satan so they can repent. Then in another instance he writes to the Galations saying to gently restore those who have sinned.
Which is it? Cast out or restore them gently?
If I don’t read with context in mind and I just google: "How does the Bible say to address sinners?", then I will end up with conflicting answers. I believe that God has given us the mind of Christ to hear him and know how to address situations and in some cases I think either answer is correct. (We could even look at the specific sin within each occurrence and create a new type of law about how to deal with each one, but that wouldn’t be a good way to go either.) If I don’t understand that Paul was writing letters to specific churches, then I’ll just do whatever I have most recently read or whichever fits what I want. This is just one example, but there are tons more that require further study to actually understand. My point is that we need to read the Bible with an open mind and heart and continually look at everything from every angle before we come to a hard conclusion that we apply to every occasion.
Sorry, I know this is just the weekly challenge and I’m beginning to preach. I am just passionate about interpreting scripture with as much context and as few lenses as possible. The only perfect lens is the Holy Spirit, and he will help you learn if you let him.
Side note: Please don’t get overwhelmed with context or history either. It’s totally okay to read the Bible before you know it all. If you couldn’t then no one would ever get to read it. Open it up and find the Truth for yourself!