To non-religious spiritual pursuers and my children (See ABOUT THIS SITE tab above or under Menu on phones to navigate site and Follow to receive future Posts)

Spiritual-minded folks often suggest one might read the Bible to know God better. Now, I am not so sure that is the best guidance for everyone. Without some explanations how to read the Bible, some may come away confused or discouraged. The Bible at times has become an idol that we tend to worship rather than a Book that is read with discernment. The Bible is often looked at as a book of rules, but Jesus wasn’t recommending domestic violence when saying to turn the other cheek. Unfortunately, the Bible has been used to justify racism or gender inequality.

Wisdom can be gain from reading the Bible with a few guidelines in mind, but one’s spiritual growth is not necessarily dependent on if one reads the Bible. Keep in mind a loving God wouldn’t insist on information in the Bible when the majority of people who have been born never had such written knowledge. God has always worked through human means available. The Bible was God’s attempt to communicate to as many people as possibly what God is really like while not condemning those who misunderstand it or never had a chance to read it.

One can’t assume telling one to just read their Bible to get to know God better isn’t without some challenges. One story seemingly has God encouraging Abraham to sacrifice his son on an altar. Is the story about the Cross really about a blood thirsty God who can only love and accept us by killing their child? Regardless of Pharaoh’s actions, how do you explain that God killed the first born of Egyptian families to make a point? To say the least reading the Old Testament can be confusing and leave one questioning if God is really loving after all.

There may be some plausible explanations for the above stories that don’t make God totally immoral. Maybe the story of Jesus’ death is not about a God who requires murder for their sake but about a man who is convinced his message is worth dying for in hopes to persuade others to consider what God is really like according to Jesus. Soldiers die for one another so future generations might enjoy freedom. It is only terrorists who blow others up to deny one the right to form their own personal beliefs.

The Bible was never meant to be some idol to worship. Insisting the Bible is without errors can lead to worshipping a Book and not who the Book is about. One must admit it is entirely possible that God did not interfere with the freedom of a writer to not misrepresent God’s views or actions in some of the stories. Too, our interpretations of a writer’s meaning are fallible, and the writer is not available to inquire of their intended meaning. Human reasoning was always meant to be a part of getting to know God. No Book can replace our relationship with God.

If there are certain characteristics of God claimed by others according to the Bible that you don’t buy, reject it! If reading the Bible is just too confusing or discouraging, you don’t have to keep reading it. But, just because we are confused or question a writer’s motive in some of the stories written, we don’t have to never read the Bible again. Much of the Bible is clear and can be considered in one’s relationship with their God as to how they might be more the person they deep down want to be. Read the Bible with an open and discerning mind while asking God to guide you in making this world a better place to live in.

 

 

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