Seriously? Most people read parts of it, they study it, pontificate on and about it, but it seems fewer and fewer people actually read it, really read it, and that, read through it… all the way through it, regularly (maybe not year after year, but often enough).
Joseph Kelly has a good post about this and the problem of being a Bible scholar and actually reading the Bible texts he or she claims to be an expert on or of. He writes in part:
Biblical scholars/enthusiasts can get away with not reading their Bibles, rather conveniently, by talking about the Bible and about how to read the Bible. I agree with Charles Halton, however, who in one of our recent discussions suggested that the scholarship of those who talk about the Bible, particularly how to read the Bible, tends to be less persuasive when they don’t actually read it (and this occurs more often than one might think). One can easily extend this observation to the transformation evident in the lives of those who talk about versus those who actually read the Bible.
Ouch.. those who actually spend time reading the Bible (scholar or not) are more persuasive than those who don’t…. let that sink in for a moment, because I think that is true to some extent and many of us nee to take that into consideration. It makes me wonder too, just imagine the potential persuasiveness of the Bible reading scholar/theologian?
Joseph concludes his post:
He cites a United Methodist Bishop, Kenneth Carder, who pointedly writes: “It is much easier to argue about evolution and creation than it is to live as though this is God’s world. Or, debating whether a ‘great fish’ really swallowed Jonah is far less costly and risky than acknowledging that God loves our enemies as much as God loves us.”
Methods of biblical interpretation are fascinating and, for biblical scholars and serious Bible students, a necessary object of study, but they are not (or should not be) an end unto themselves.
Here was my comment (that at this time is awaiting moderation):
Joseph – If I am following you right – it is important, as a Christian, let alone a Biblical Scholar/Theologian, Pastor, Bible Teacher, etc… to actually spend time reading the Bible, either alone or with others (both are needed), aloud or silently to oneself (both are needed), and that, through the WHOLE BIBLE, yes?
If so, yes yes yes! Perhaps not every year, year after year, but often enough to maintain (and improve upon) an overall comprehensive understanding of the Bible and its message of salvation and the God who offers it freely to all.
As I understand it, one main point of the Scriptures is to make us “wise unto salvation,” and to know God and be known by him, how else can that happen if we don’t actually read the Bible?
ps, this is why I am a strong advocate of Inductive Bible Study (such as what one sees with Precept Ministries) – it makes people read the Bible over and over and over again.
I hope I am not missing the point.
Well, what say you? Why don’t you read the Bible?