The Bible Can Be Intimidating

The Bible, for many, stands as the cornerstone of their faith, be they Christian or Jewish. I have led Bible studies at my church, taken several hours of Bible study in seminary and read the Bible, yet not as often as I should.

Through all this interaction with the Bible, several things have jumped out at me. One in particular is the fact that the Bible can be very intimidating. New and old Christians alike can be intimidated by this collection of books for several reasons:

1. People are perplexed by labels applied to the Bible such as inerrant, infallible, inspired, etc.

2. People often don’t know which translation to read

3. People don’t seem to know where to start

4. People get bored by the lists of genealogies and aren’t sure why that stuff matters

5. People are confused about which parts to read literally and which to take figuratively

6. People aren’t sure which laws or teachings apply to us today (Old Testament vs New Testament)

7. People aren’t sure how to interpret various passages

8. People sometimes have doubts about its validity and relevance today

9. People are confused by “apparent” contradictions that often lead to doubting their faith

One thing I find so interesting is that I have run into people who have gone to church their whole lives, volunteer regularly at church, and never miss Sunday School or a potluck, yet they have never read the Bible.

If the Bible is a cornerstone of our faith, we must overcome this intimidation, read it, and seek to understand it. And it’s not just newbies that are intimidated by the Bible. Many people are.

Also, this intimidation or hesitancy to read the Bible leads to one of the stereotypes Changing the Face of Christianity is trying to reverse: having a superficial faith. We need to know what we believe and have confidence in knowing it’s true.

So over the coming weeks and months I thought we could take a deeper look at the Bible. Let’s understand how this collection of scrolls came into our hands. Let’s take some of the mystery out of the Bible. In short, let’s make it less intimidating for people to read.

The Bible is a wondrous and complex book that I find something new in all the time. Perhaps you are someone who has read the Bible many times. Wonderful! Join us and add to the discussion and perhaps learn something new. I look forward to our conversation on this incredibly important topic.

Stay tuned for our next article where we dive head first into the topic of Biblical Inerrancy.

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  1. Bill Hope says

    I find it scary is I’ve known agnostics who know more about the Bible than some Christians do! We need to not only to know the Bible but live, breath and think the Bible. And you don’t get there unless you dive in. First off I always tell a new believer or even one who doesn’t read the Bible as much as they should to get a good modern translation like the New International Version, The New American Standard or the English Standard Version. I think too many King James only people get to these poor souls and fill them up with their propaganda and these folks when faced with the archaic language that they can’t understand give up. God’s word is supposed to be clear not hard to understand. Secondly I tell them to start with the Gospel of John as a starting point then read through the rest of the Gospels, Acts and then the Epistles. Read a little at a time. Don’t rush it but absorb it. Don’t hop into the really daunting parts just yet and don’t start from the beginning in Genesis and try to read through because sure Genesis thru Numbers is really interesting but man Leviticus can be a bear of a book to get through (Honestly I’ve never read it through myself) Thirdly (Honestly this should have been first in my list) Pray that the Holy Spirit gives you the desire for the word. Also make sure you set aside a specific time to read. I always tried to read on my lunch hour and then an hour before prayers and bed. I’d work on one book at lunch and then read another at night. You will really cover alot and not even know it. Finally when you get someone who tries to point out apparent “contradictions” in the Bible don’t be afraid to say “Honestly I don’t know exactly how to answer you but I’ll find out for you” Get some good books on Christian Apologetics like Josh McDowell’s “More than a Carpenter” or Lee Strobel’s “Case for…..” books.

  2. alan leonard says

    There is great hope in reading the Bible that something of God would come thru. . . . that as the word of God that truth would be known in a living way. Have also found that the Bible can be read and studied much as any other book and nothing of the life and power and beauty of things comes thru. Believe it was John Piper who wrote that the scriptures are kindling for the Spirit. Have found this to be a good description of what is possible when the Spirit gives life thru the words. . . that one verse brings to heart and mind another then another then another, and in a living way truth is known thru His word. You arrive at truth not so much thru study but thru life. Have also found that in view of my increasingly limited capacity, that Bible memory systems have limited value other than to provide kindling for the Spirit (staying with the analogy).

  3. Jonquille says

    comment pouvez-vous croire à un livre merveilleux quand elle contient tant de massacres faits contre des innocents, des bébés alors que “votre dieu” dit de ne pas tuer. Comment trouver ce livre magnifique quand elle endoctrine tant les gens qu’ils ne peuvent plus penser par eux-mêmes de peur de douter et d’aller en enfer…je sais je l’ai lue tant d’années et avec le recul je trouve que ce livre est extrêmiste, une incitation au racisme: tuer des peuples pour une question d’idéologies, tuer des nouveaux nés comme en Egypte ? mais le grand problème c’est que quand on est endoctriné on ne doit pas douter, tout esprit critique est éliminé. Les gens ont trop peur d’ouvrir les yeux car ils risquent de tout perdre. Une relation avec un chrétien type “né de nouveau” ne peut pas être normale. Dans une relation en général, la croyance ne doit pas être un problème, les divergences non plus. Mais votre Dieu dit de ne pas fréquenter les paiens, les homosexuels sont bon pour l’enfer. Pourtant avec tous les abus spirituels que j’ai vus, je pense que les homosexuels et autres font certainement bcp moins de mal que les chrétiens. Votre monde est un cocon, un Dieu qui ment, j’ai vu des enfants mourir alors qu’on priait pour leur guérison. Et après on nous rabache que le monde entier doit voir la bonté de Dieu alors qu’il en fait si peu. Quand aux persécutions, sachez que Jésus n’était pas le seul : le prophète Mahomet aussi a été persécuté et a du fuir à Meddine, les Tibétains aussi souffrent…et sachez aussi que les gourous des sectes sont toujours des victimes. Je n’aime pas votre Dieu ni la bible qui est sa soit disant parole…avec tant de meurtres perpétrés en son nom ? que diriez-vous si quelqu’un au nom de Dieu venait poignarder ou flinguer votre enfant ? allez-vous louer Dieu ? un enfant qu’il soit juif, chrétien, parlestinien ou autre est un symbole d’innocence. Mais votre bible est une incitation au racisme, prenons l’exemple des Amalacites, qui ont été tués, etc…il n’a aucune inspiration divine. Sinon votre Dieu est un assassin.

    • alan leonard says

      Dans votre lecture de la Bible que vous avez seulement de repartir avec la peur et la haine et assassiner? La promesse est celle de la vie. . . la vie spirituelle au sein de comme un source d’eau vive. . . telle est la promesse de Dieu dans le Christ. Le fruit d’un cœur tourné vers Dieu, c’est la joie et la paix et d’espoir. . . ces choses-là sont difficiles à voir quand vous êtes aveuglé par la peur et la haine et assassiner. Il n’ya pas de liberté dans les choses que vous portez.

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