9 Aug 2002

Why can't the Bible be user-friendly?

Submitted by theshovel
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Why cant we just walk up to the bible and be innocent, simple, and accept it with the connotation we read? Why do we so easily get off onto the “old thinkin” so easily? Was it meant to be?Sorry just venting…you know me always venting….this obviously doesn’t seem user friendly to me! Help. Adam

Hi Adam

Well, I’m probably going to tell you the same thing I’ve told you before about why you’re not going to see the Bible with that innocent view, and it has a lot to do with the fact that you’re not innocent. hehehe. And I don’t mean that in a negative way, just simply that you’re not naive … and more importantly: this letter (1 John) was not written to you!

Never, ever, ever forget this. If it had been written to you then it would have been written in view of what you are going through so that the statements would have fit within your comprehension. As it is, this - and all other Biblical writings - was written to someone else. And those someone else’s would have been able to read-in the basic assumptions behind the writings. What this means is that in order to get what the original recipients got out of it we have to follow the entire letter without reading our own current assumptions into it - especially those that have been forced upon our culture based on a narrowly defined “verse here and verse there” approach.

There is a reason why systematic theology has been developed and adhered to for years and that’s because people have sensed that same need for a structural understanding. The problem with such systems is that they take bits and pieces of many things - even good and valuable teachings - and force them across the board. It is based upon the theory that God has presented us with a textbook by which to understand Him and our responsibilities.

Why did I tell you about that? Because I think your struggles are caught between assumptions that have been built upon various systematic theologies and your own attempt to escape those systems and teachings. Yikes. Don’t you sense that? See, you keep insisting that the Bible should make a simplistic sense to you if you could just start fresh. But you can’t start fresh - at least, not in the way you’re thinking.

You know what, though? You already know what you need to know, it’s been built within you. What I’m saying is that you already know what makes people tick because you have discovered this through everything you’ve been through - and God has given you insight into what is really going on behind the scenes.

In this respect, the people John wrote to experienced the same basic things you have. It’s just that the outward circumstances and the rationale often appears to be so different - and therefore, the sound of the communication follows the structure of their perceptions. Look for the clues throughout whichever writing you’re reading, and you’ll discover that even though the cultures and experiences are vastly different the similarities will show through.


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Random Shovelquote: Christ, not the Bible is the life (view all shovelquotes)

I discovered that the Bible was not the life, but that it declared the life. I used to be in bondage to a book, but the book tells me that I am not in bondage to anything! I also discovered that Jesus is The Word of God.   source