Read John 5:39-40
39-40 You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am,standing right before you,and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want. (THE MESSAGE)
We must never forget that it was the Bible experts,the ones who figured they knew it all,who drove Jesus to the cross. Jesus rightly rebukes them for losing sight of him,the central character,amidst their immersion in other details.
Present-day students of the Bible may not reject Jesus in that extreme way,but we can be sadly guilty of assuming we know more than what we truly do know. We can assume our interpretation must be the right one,especially if those in our own Christian ‘tribe’ back us up on it. But we may be wrong. The Bible might be the infallible word of God but it is read and applied by very fallible students of it.
When we have books featuring phrases such as “What the Bible really says…” or “The Biblical view of…” we risk labelling as unbiblical all those who differ from us. We might have very good reasons for interpreting the Bible as we do. We reserve the right to respectfully argue our case and courteously disagree with other interpretations.
But we dare not assume we are always right. We are to approach the Bible confident that God speaks through it,but not so confident that we always hear him correctly. We are to read the Bible in community,aware that other members of the community may broaden and sharpen our understanding of it. We not only read the Bible but let it read us.