The point of this story is to show that the Bible isn’t a Magic Eight Ball! Do not get me wrong, the Bible should shape our lives but we have to approach it and use it in the right way. You don’t use a TV remote to unstop a toilet. Why, because a TV remote is bad? No, because a TV remote was meant to serve another purpose. The Bibles purpose is the share divine truths to mankind about his creator not to be a magic book, almanac, or a scientific explanation of the universe. The better we understand the Bible, the better we will understand Gods message to us. Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.When we approach scripture, we have to approach it with the right context. If I were to say, “Put the kitty on the table.” You would need to know in what context I was speaking. If I was in Vegas and said “Put the kitty on the table” you would be able to conclude what I was gambling. But the meaning of “Put the kitty on the table” changes if I were at a pet store. Context is key! (Remember this, when a verse is taken out of context to be used as a proof text- that’s really a pretext.)
So what are some context tips for reading Scripture?
- Get a good study Bible, commentary, and concordance.
- Learn the history of the Bible and how it came into existence.
- Learn not to read the Bible as one volume but as a library of genres.
- Realize that The New Testament did not come before the Church but from the Church.
- Remember that Holy Scripture is a stream in which the elephant may swim and the lamb may wade.-Pope St. Gregory
I was raised Baptist. As a Baptist I was taught that the Bible was the most important “tool” I had as a Christian. If it could not be found in the Bible, then it obviously was not important. This view is called “Sola Scriptura,” or “by Scripture alone.” Ever since Martin Luther, Protestants have believed that the Bible alone is the sole teacher of truth and therefore the reason for faith. Ironically though, this is not found anywhere in the Bible. Scripture never says that the Bible alone is the sole rule of truth, but on the contrary it gives that authority to Christ’s Church , “…the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” (1Tim. 3:16) “And if he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican.” (Matt. 18:17) The idea of the “Bible alone” is not Biblical. Sola Scriptura falls apart with logic because the printing press was not invented until the sixteenth century. Therefore people could not afford a Bible and even if they could, the vast majority were illiterate. Christians heard the Bible at every Sunday Mass because the Church is the mother of the Bible and not vice versa. The New Testament did not come before the Church but from the Church. Jesus did not hand a Bible over to his apostles. Jesus wrote nothing and as far as we know, He never asked His disciples to write anything. His significant command to them was “do this,” not “write this” ; and “this” referred to the Church-forming sacraments. Only five of the twelve apostles wrote any thing down at all. The first generation of Christians had no new testament. Nine years past after Christ’s death before even one piece of the New Testament was written. It was sixty-four years before the last Gospel was completed. So there were sixty-four years without the twenty seven books of the New Testament. The New Testament, as we know it, was not gathered into one book and added to the existing Bible, the Old Testament, Until 393 A.D. at the Council of Hippo. The Bishops of the Catholic Church, gathered in council, prayed to the Holy Spirit for guidance, decided on those twenty-seven and excluded other writings. They said these books and these books alone are the Word of God. Who decided that? Catholic Bishops. Form then on, it was definitely referred to as the New Testament and as part of the Bible. The Church that canonized the Scriptures was the very Church that had produced them. During that four-hundred-year gap, before the New Testament was considered a part of the Bible, Christians relied on the traditions of the apostles for the truth. “Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.” (2 Thes 2:15).
Here is a short video I made about how Bible study can change your life: