How often have you opened up your Bible and been left scratching your head?
Perhaps there's a heavily debated scripture that divides your church, or an event within that makes you question God's goodness and character. Far too many Christians have found themselves in the habit of simply skimming over what is confusing or unpleasant to read. We've learned to rely on Sunday mornings for our fill of God's word, instead of taking the time to dig deep for ourselves.
Today, more than ever, we have so many different resources available to us to help us understand more of his word. If that's the case, then why have we ended up with this dilemma?
It's all about me
Many of us who have grown up in the Church have often been taught to jump to application of the word asking, "How does this apply to me? How can I use this in my daily life?" Or, we make the mistake of taking verses word for word and completely literally, not paying attention to the context of who it was originally directed to.
Jumping to this kind of thinking straight off the bat is one of the reasons why so many Christians feel dissatisfied after trying to read and make sense of the Bible, and why so many pieces of Scripture become a heated debate. The fact is, the Bible is not written to you directly, so perhaps we should stop reading it that way.
For myself, I definitely got used to reading from a more devotional approach, looking for how I could take what I was reading for my life. As you can imagine, this method only works up to a point. Diving into the instructions for the building of the tabernacle, or the proper type of livestock to sacrifice suddenly didn't seem applicable to my life today.
The Bible was written for you to enjoy and learn from, but it was not written directly to you. Such a simple concept yet so many of us miss the mark when we try to engage in reading.
Going beyond the gospel
The New Testament seems to be an easier fallback for most. Jesus' teachings were very straightforward and easy enough for us to apply to daily life. Yet, this should not be a reason to grow comfortable with it.
If we're being honest, there's some pretty shocking events and statements throughout the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, that we tend to glaze over because we don't understand why it's in there to begin with. We're afraid that if we ask, "Why?" that we won't like the answer.
Trying to apply a book written hundreds upon hundreds of years ago to our current life today may seem a little crazy. Yet, when we learn to read each piece of the Bible, and ask the "who, what, where, when, how, why" questions, they help us to better understand the context behind each passage and make better sense of it all.
I've learned to make like a four-year-old and dig deep with questions as I read, and it's made a world of difference, even as someone who has relied on pre-arranged Bible studies in the past.
We need to learn how to take initiative as we study God's word, rather than become frustrated or confused when things don't make sense, or apply to us in this century right away.
The Bible is an amazing book filled with stories and testimonies of God's faithfulness, his wrath, his wisdom, and so much more. Although it is bursting at the seams with these insights, we also have to remember, while it was written and compiled for us as a tool and a way for him to speak through us, it is not written directly to us.
Making the commitment to take initiative and dig deep for ourselves within all areas of the Bible is a crucial step in our walk of faith. Will you take the plunge for yourself?
Miranda Bersaglio is a Canadian writer and filmmaker. During her free time, she can be found travelling the globe in search of a new story to tell.
Miranda Bersaglio's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/miranda-bersaglio.html