It’s a mistake to read the Bible with the expectation of finding perfect consistency, a transparent narrative of events or doctrine.  That’s what you might expect if the book were of strictly human inspiration, and if you found it, that’s also what you might suspect to be the case.  At the very least, your faith in the book would be compromised.

But our Bible is the living word of God.   That means that we do not approach it for the same reasons we approach other texts.  We read the Bible – and especially those portions of the Bible that tell us what Jesus said, and what His contemporaries said about Him and what He did – we read them, not in order to find out a set of facts or even to find the important moral or religious principles we should follow.  We can do those things, of course.  We can learn many interesting facts, and we can certainly acquire information about how we should live and the shape our lives should take.  We can profitably do all that, but that’s not the main reason we read the Bible, and that’s not why we call it the living word of God.

We read the Bible so that we can bring before Jesus and His Holy Spirit the true joys and the true and often sorrowful needs of our own spirits.  We read and reflect on what Jesus said and did, not first and foremost to acquire information, but first and foremost to acquire the spiritual help that is available nowhere else.   That’s why the Bible can offer different things to different readers, depending on their need, and different things to the same people at different times.

The Bible (like prayer) in its spiritual essence is a tool, not for our use, but for God’s.

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