My dad has pestered me for a long time about wanting me to read the Bible and focus more on Biblical interpretation. I’d imagine it has something to do with his own Baptist upbringing. As a Baptist, he was taught by his own parents that the Bible is the core component of Christian truth and needs to be read constantly if we are to come to a full knowledge of the truth of Christ. There’s only one problem–the Bible is amazingly complex and difficult to understand. Additionally, faith (saving faith) always precedes understanding. We could be completely ignorant about the Bible and still find ourselves in a state of saving faith upon our death-beds. Once, at my church, I was asking about the length of time Elijah had the rains stopped and no one actually knew the answer (not even the priest!).
As such, I’ve been on a mission recently to find the easiest book of the Bible to give to someone who is seeking faith in God. It’s difficult–some say Mark is easy, some say they should start with an epistle, others just don’t know due to the Bible’s complexity. Until…I came across an amazing piece from Jared Byas on Peter Enns’s blog and realized I needed to narrow my search way down–to a chapter? No. To a verse? No. To a portion of a verse! And here it is–“I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
There really is honestly no need to read the Bible in this life or the next life. The Bible is the book of the Church and as such, it is the Church that gives us the Truth that is necessary for salvation (1 Tim. 3:15). My dad tells me I should read the Psalms more often but truthfully, even these are difficult to understand for me. There is no need for me to read the Psalms other than within the context of the Church. No ancient Christian had a Bible at his disposal to read to himself so he could find “the truth”. In fact, ancient Christians had to trust the authority of the Church to guide them to the Truth and then, when the Bible was read, they read it in the context of the Church. Reading the Bible does not make one a better Christian. Even Satan can quote scriptures. So I have relaxed my feelings about the Bible and have opted that I just will trust the Church’s interpretation on it and read it in such context. Anything else, is pride.