The Bible isn't the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the
It doesn't have "Don't Panic" written
on the front in large, friendly letters.
It doesn't provide simple answers to difficult
questions. If God had wanted to do that, he wouldn't have given us a book with
many literary forms, written in numerous languages by people from a completely
different culture and time from us. He'd have given us a 6 page tract.
The Bible has to be read with the understanding that "A
text without a context is a pretext” and in accordance with
A Bible passage is not the end of a discussion; it's the
start of one.
A discussion in which only one answer is possible sounds
tedious, not to mention pointless.
Use it wisely. Read it in conjunction with
commentaries, common sense, church tradition and wiser people. Wiser people tend not to have their own TV show, social media feeds, a
private jet, a mansion, posh car, designer anything or a book deal.
The Bible was never intended as a weapon. Although
some of Rev T’s study Bibles are large and could do significant damage when
applied to the head area or thrown across a room.
Whilst The Bible contains absolute truths, other things are
up for debate. Two people can read the same passage, interpret it
completely differently and be able to give a well-reasoned answer for why - and
that's okay! Some things will never be certain this side of death.
Christians view the Bible as the final authority, others
don't. When talking to non-Christians, "The Bible says
...", won't cut it as an argument.
Rev T's rule of application, Matthew 22 v 37 - 41:
answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.
This is the first and most important commandment. The second most important
commandment is like this one. And it is, “Love others as much as you love
yourself.” All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on
these two commandments".
All of which may seem glaringly obvious, but a look around
the Internet shows how easy it is to overlook the obvious.
This cartoon appeared in The Guardian a long time ago:
Made me chuckle! And reminded me of this entry from Real Live
Preacher’s Blog,“There's Something About the Way You Use the Bible”. Wish I'd written this, but am happy to share it:
“…the bible is not a self-help book full of easy answers,
but a book of stories and wisdom that is meant to lead us into relationship and
worship. There are hard and fast truths in it, yes, but they are surrounded by
soft truths, and slippery truths, and sometimes truths, and truths that once
were true but are no longer true, and truths that are only true if you are in the
right state of mind, and truths that are only true if you are not hurting
someone, and truths that are true in the moment but not if you are talking
about the moment, and truths that can only be lived and should never be spoken,
and truths that we cannot hear, and truths that are more than we can bear.
The truths of the bible are utterly beyond anyone who
seeks to own truth and who seeks truth above the Spirit of God. ... The bible is a book for pilgrims and wanderers. It is a
book for children and for those who wish to become children again. It is a book
for seekers and searchers and dreamers.
It is a book for anyone and everyone who hopes that the
desires of God might be written upon their hearts”.
Right now, I'm particularly loving the Psalms:
"I patiently waited, Lord, for you to hear
my prayer. You listened and pulled
me from a lonely pit full of mud and mire. You let me stand on a rock with my feet
firm, and you gave me a new song, a song of praise to you. Many will see this, and they will honour and
trust you, the Lord God".
40. There's some great stuff about being thoroughly miserable and
generally fed up, wondering what on earth God is playing at! I can really
relate to that right now.