bits from bob....
Some people read the Bible, some do not. Some read and understand, others read and only see words. The Bible may outrage, confront, perplex or bore. Perhaps no two persons read the Bible exactly alike.
The message of the Bible is ultimately bound up in discovering two important truths--the identity of God and the true identity of the reader. Unless one has seen God and has seen self, one has not yet grasped the message of the Bible.
The method of the Bible is narrative, so that we who read are allowed to meet countless other individuals for whom this identity question has also been posed. We encounter individuals whose identity changes--some from good to bad, others from bad to good. The process of truly identifying us who read is one of identifying God and then determining whether we are like him or not. Being like him demands we enter into some kind of reciprocal relationship with him, although the relationship is significantly one-sided--thus grace abounds.
The power of the Bible is liberating and transforming. To ask "What is the Bible?" is in the same breath to ask "Who is the reader?" Reading the Bible implies not only that we question the Bible but that we allow it to question us. It is this questioning stance of Scripture that allows even an unbeliever to discover new aspects of its message. But reading the Bible demands a personal involvement from the reader. Genuine involvement precludes predetermining what the Bible will say. The Bible may be read (must be read?) outside the official framework of a faith system.
The Bible is less about discovering a sure fire method for rescue from this world than about discovering how identifying with God enables one to live through the challenges of our unpredictable age.
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