Some Thoughts On The Bible

Continuing my series of posts on faith and related, as I explore the holes in my memory and try to be sure I’m not missing anything important, at least in regards Faith. My explorations are my own, and in no way, shape, or form represent the official position of any denomination of Christianity — only my imperfect understanding of God and Faith. If anything here does help someone else, and does not distract or otherwise damage faith and belief, that’s a good thing. Bread upon the waters should never be considered a bad thing.

The Bible and scripture are where I’m finding a lot of holes in my memories. I know I’ve read several versions of the Protestant Bible in whole or in part, have read at least parts of the Catholic Bible (NAB version), and think I’ve read some or all of the apocrypha. I do remember enough to know that a favorite translation of mine is the King James version, though I’ve also read portions of the Revised Standard Version, Living Bible, and a few other hip and modern translations. I don’t recall being terribly impressed with the hip and modern translations. Guess I am old fashioned that way.

While I can’t remember reading a lot, I am pleasantly surprised at what scripture does pop up as I’m reading and studying. Which leads me to think that some of those memories are still there, somewhere, and that even damaged as my mind may be, guidance is happening.

No, my readings are not a nod to Sola Scriptura. While I think reading scripture is important, as is developing a personal understanding of scripture and Faith, I find the concept of scripture alone being enough/all that is needed much like eating the dry ingredients of a cake and declaring that to be the same as eating the final product. From what I have read, Martin Luther himself did not intend for this concept to be taken as far as it has by his followers. Even growing up in the Methodist Church, the lessons where we read the Bible were paired with presentations by various theologians and others on what the lesson meant.

While such augmentation did not extend back to the Fathers of the Church that I remember (and especially not to Catholic traditions and scholars), it added some leavening and richness that would otherwise have been missing. Again, what I remember of the past was that anytime there was that additional perspective presented, it boosted what was obtained from the Scriptures almost immeasurably. After all, to treat Faith as a purely intellectual exercise is to miss out on the depth, beauty, and love that transcend mere rationality and logic.

To my mind as it currently exists, I think that reading Scripture along with the thoughts of the Fathers of the Church and related sources is crucial to getting the most out of the experience. To put those words into the context of how and why things were done as they were boosts faith and adds to the experience of worship. It helps me to better develop my Faith and live the life I should be living.

That said, I would offer caution on some of the more modern takes being presented today. When it comes to prosperity and getting rich, rich, rich through Christ, I would simply suggest a search on the topics of rich men, wealth, and such then reading said scripture. Eyes of needles is perhaps the mildest of what will be found. Why no, I’m not a fan of prosperity gospel.

When it comes to the extremely modern take that Christ is your friend, your good and mellow buddy who is really laid back, ready to give you anything you need or want, share his stash, etc., with never a need for repayment, might I suggest running a search in the King James or RSV for all the times Christ called someone friend? Think you are going to have fingers left over, and it is worth considering his comments in those instances. For what it is worth, I do think Christ is our friend, just not in the modern meaning of such and very much in a more old fashioned way.

On a more fun note, I do remember an exercise that I was given somewhere around the ninth grade. For it, I was asked to read the Bible (any edition) as if it were a novel. While that was a bit of a challenge, doing so was a very interesting and positive experience. By starting with Genesis and working forward, it was interesting to see the developments and how much reading that way brought out the foreshadowing of Christ in scripture. I remember being very surprised by how much this exercise brought out.

More recently, I had the Book of Luke brought to my attention for a couple of reasons. One was the thought by theologians and historians that Luke interviewed/talked to not just some of those still living who knew Christ, but also the Virgin Mary herself. When you look at Luke, note the stories of his youth which are only located in that Book, and think of the stories only a mother could and would tell.

There is something else about Luke I was going to discuss here, but now can’t remember what it was. I miss, very much, having working short- and long-term memory. There are days it does get a bit frustrating, but I also have faith that it is for a reason, and there is something I am to learn or do as a result of this. I try not to let the glitches, and having my train of thought go off the rails, the bridge, and smash into the gorge, get to me. Too much.

I do remember that I wanted to say a few words about authorship and something for which I am thankful. As someone who has spent a good bit of my career translating scientificese and engineerese into something vaguely approaching American (gave up on English years ago, no one here speaks it anyway), I simply am glad that the Apostles were honest fishermen and such, and not academics or other such “learned” types. By the time the “learned” got a hold of their words, Tradition was already set for the most part. My opinion is that we are much the richer for it.

And, yes, I do realize that Luke was a physician and scholarly. He was not, however, an academic as we think of such and thankfully not an engineer. As a result, we have two books that are different from, but complementary to, the Books of Matthew, Mark, John, etc. Can you imagine the results if you were to turn most modern woke academics loose on Scripture? Shudder.

If I do remember the other item I meant to share, I will try to work it into a future post. For now, I am at peace with the gaps in my memories of reading the Bible given that somehow I am having the needed scripture (or info on where to look) pop up as needed. Yes, I do plan to add some reading of Scripture to my list regardless. Such reading and re-reading is a good thing, and I commend it to all.

The Series Of Posts:

Exploring Faith, Christianity, and Theology

Some Thoughts On God, And Man

Some Additional Background Memories

What Is Christianity?