Monday, April 14, 2008

Reading the bible is dangerous

Reading the Bible, if we do not do it rightly, can get us into a lot of trouble. The Christian community is as concerned with how we read the Bible as that we read it. It is not sufficient to place a Bible in a person's hands with the command, "Read it." That is quite as foolish as putting a set of keys in an adolescent's hands, giving him a Honda, and saying, "Drive it." And just as dangerous. The danger is that in having our hands on a piece of technology, we will use it ignorantly, endangering our lives and the lives of those around us; or that, intoxicated with the power that technology gives us, we will use it ruthlessly and violently.
For print is technology. We pick up a Bible and find that we have God's word in our hands, our hands. We can now handle it. It is easy enough to suppose that we are in control of it, that we can use it, that we are in charge of applying it wherever, whenever, and to whomever we wish without regard to appropriateness or conditions.
There is more to the Honda than the technology of mechanics. And there is more to the Bible than the technology of print. Surrounding the machine technology of the Honda there is the world of gravity and inertia, values and velocity, surfaces and obstructions, Chevrolets and Fords, traffic regulations and the highway patrol, other drivers whether drunk or sober, snow and ice and rain. There is more to driving a car than turning a key in the ignition and stepping on the accelerator. Those who don't know that are soon dead or maimed.
And those who don't know the conditions implicit in the technology of the Bible are likewise dangerous to themselves and others. And so, as we hand out Bibles and urge people to read them, it is imperative that we say, caveat lector, let the reader beware.

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1 comment:

Glen Marshall said...

And it's arguably even more dangerous if we read it properly