How to read the bible

For Christians and Catholics, how do you read the bible? When you read it, do you read it literally and apply it to your life? This calls to my mind something I read in a Nicky Grumbel*’s book – a man willingly castrated himself because of Matthew 5:30 “And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (KJV). It has come to my attention that the bible also states that one should not wear clothes of mixed fibers because of Leviticus 19:19 “Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee” (KJV). And there’s the 10 commandments in the old testament as well – which I kinda remembered learning (in SJSM) that we are required to follow even though we are under the new covenant when Jesus died for our sins. Which brings to mind some Christians don’t believe in observing the 10 commandments because of the new covenant. But I remembered someone, perhaps Benny or Paul saying that to counter that argument.

Oh boy. how to read the bible or rather using the bible to understand God better is proving to be confusing and troubling. I was watching a youtube video on the history of the bible when the narrator mentioned that human beings, presumably scholars, decided the books to be included in the bible. Wait a minute. I thought that the bible is the divine word of God. So scholars get to decide which parchments (from the dead sea?) constitute His word because on their judgment, wisdom and ? I guess they must been fasting and praying to get some insight from God before they remove a book / chapter from the modern day bible.

And now, I’m doubting the splitting of the red sea when the Israelites crossed it to shake off the Egyptian armies. Was the “split” a natural phenomenon which observers during the BC days observed? A google search on this subject elicited numerous links. Apparently, there’s various studies and experiments, and hypothesis – the split was due to a tsunami, strong winds, etc.

At the end of the day, regardless of what the bible says, it’s about the heart. And perhaps the corny WWJD (what would Jesus do?) acronym may help. Would a loving Jesus encourage Christians to enslave others, to burn “witches” alive, etc? Oh ooo… I’d better watch my mouth. Jesus probably won’t say that arabs are stupid and lazy – which was I have been saying…it’s time … to pray.

* He’s the founder/author of the Alpha Course which started in the UK, I believe and was brought to Singapore. The Alpha Course introduces non-believers to the Christian faith with plenty of cool company, discussion and food. And yes, I attended (most of) the Alpha Course. Thank God for Martha Chan for persisting in inviting me to her church. And thank God for Benny Chey for his wonderful cell and cell members (Benny & Elin, Tek Mun & Yin Hwee, Carine x2, Helsa, Dickson & damnit how can I forget this lovely singer’s name?, and Peter)

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