I really like the Bible! Not just “like” as in I click on a thing is social media to share with the world, or at least those witch whom I am connected. No, I really actually like the Bible.
Except the parts that I don’t like.
Ok, well, this is a bit oversimplified.
I was reading Romans 10 earlier today, and, wow! Roman’s 10 has some incredibly powerful stuff. Salve for what hurts, you know?
There is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord is Lord of all, who gives richly to all who call on him. -Romans 10:12
But then I get to thinking about all the parts of the Bible that aren’t quite so clear and encouraging as that. Like this
But I say to you that everyone who is angry with their brother or sister will be in danger of judgment. If they say to their brother or sister, ‘You idiot,’ they will be in danger of being condemned by the governing council. And if they say, ‘You fool,’ they will be in danger of fiery hell. -Matthew 5:22
Ok, well, that’s perfectly clear, but not nearly so encouraging.
I suppose one could pick-and-choose which parts of the Bible are more important, or more valuable. Some people (ahem) cut and paste – keeping the verses they like and cutting out – either literally or practically – the ones they don’t. Some have simply walked away from the Bible because it is hard to make it all jive together.
I learned in seminary that “scripture interprets scripture.” This means, without going deeply theological on you, that, since we (Christians) claim the entire book as authoritative and inspired, we wrestle with the more difficult parts in light of the less difficult parts.
I used the word “wrestle” intentionally. Figuring out what God says to us in and through the Bible is a wrestling match.
And wrestling with God is in the Bible, too!
It is tempting to turn to the Bible as a mere instructional manual. Some only want it for the stories. I’m thinking they haven’t read many of those stories very closely, but that’s another post.
Whatever your relationship with the Bible, believe this: God give richly to all who call on him. And this God who gives richly would rather wrestle with you over the meaning than have you walk away.