Fred Craddock opens his commentary to the Book of Hebrews with the following words:
The Bible has the power to shape and inform us as a people of faith. We say that the Bible is authoritative. We hold that scripture reveals the Word of God so far as it is necessary for our salvation and the Bible to contain all things necessary to salvation. But the Bible by itself is not enough. We have to find ways to take the ancient words and live them out in the lives of people of faith today. The Bible needs to be read and interpreted, studied and discussed within the community of faith for the fullness of its message to be communicated.
For instance, few of us practice the legal code or dietary laws that we find in the first five books of the Old Testament. Neither do we actually practice what Jesus tells when he says that if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away and if your right-hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away (Matthew 5:29-30). Who of us would actually go that far?
The challenge is to study the Bible and prayerfully consider its word as a message to us today. We need to find it’s has meaning and significance to us in our present context.
All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 New Revised Standard Version)
As a church, we are to be always in conversation with the Bible and listen to what it has to say. We are to take its words seriously, even if certain parts of the Bible are to be read and understood differently in our day than in the days of those who came before us.
I know that my faith is more genuine and real when I study the Bible and wrestle with it. Scripture challenges me to seek God’s ways and then bring my life in line with what I find. It’s a team effort.
Grace and peace,