One topic I never tire of writing about is the Bible- in part because there is a lot we can talk about. One thing we often don’t spend much time thinking about is why we have the Bible and why we have the particular stories and texts that we have. Often our default way of thinking about the Bible acts as if the Bible fell to the earth from heaven. Even if we know that’s not what happened, often our reading of the Bible treats it that way.
Actually the Bible, as we have it today, has a very complicated history. It’s not linear and it’s not simple. People, faithful people, have edited the texts we have. For example, Israel during and after the Exile took a serious look at their situation and at the texts they had and needed to make sense of it all- the text and their lived experience. And some rethinking and reinterpretation happened.
Paul, after his encounter with the resurrected Christ has to rethink his understanding of his sacred texts. No one was expecting a Messiah like Jesus and a fresh re reading, re interpretation of the traditional texts was needed to make sense of the text and the first Christians’ experience of Jesus.
There is a way to read the Bible as sacred text, as the word of God, that does not require us to read it as “operating instructions for life”, “how to get to heaven”, ” timeless truths to be obeyed”, and so on. There is a way of reading the Bible where the text invites us into conversation with itself, with the original authors and original audience and the Holy Spirit. And this conversation is to help us enter into the life and mystery of God.
So before we go further with this topic, how do you read the Bible? And is what you think you do, actually what you do?
Hey, two days in a row!