Sitting with a few friends over lunch, we talked about reading Scripture. Our little band was made up of an elder from a local church, a Bible teacher, a mission administrator, and a president of a Asian seminary and Bible college.
Our conversation turned to the seeming sad state of affairs in the church in many different places–those who affirm the value of the Bible aren’t reading it. And as we talked it was clear to each of us that many Christians are intimidated even at the thought of just reading the Bible. Somehow the church, in many of its forms and flavors, has either undermined or discouraged the “person in the pew” from simply reading the Bible.
Whether it is through “how to read the Bible” programs that major on the things people don’t know (thereby raising the intimidation factor) or because of the way the Bible is sometime taught (making it seem like there is nothing simply and clear about reading the Bible), we could all speak about Christians who struggled to simply read the Bible. But the truth is that God inspired His Word for His people to read. It isn’t supposed to be intimidating or overwhelmingly difficult.
Deuteronomy is a collection of three sermons preached by Moses to the children of Israel who had come out of Egypt at the time of the Exodus. That group wasn’t made up of seminarians and Bible school students, but families and mothers and fathers and children, former slaves, laborers and housekeepers and farmers . . . and Moses spoke to them (and those words were recorded as Deuteronomy) and he anticipated they would be able to understand what he had said.
Paul penned a letter to the community of faith in Rome. The recipients where not all college graduates with advance degrees, but slaves and and centurians, shop keeppers and merchants, families and public officials . . . and Paul wrote to them (and those words were recorded for us as the letter to the Romans) and he anticipated they would be able to understand what he wrote.
This means that the books of the Bible–like Deuteronomy and Romans and everything in between–were inspired by the Spirit and penned by men with the clear intention that people–yes, “average” people like you and me–could read and understand what they were reading.
And seeing as you are reading this blog, I have a insight for you: You already know enough of the basics of reading to read and understand Scripture.