How to Not Misunderstand the Holy Bible?
We’re Misunderstanding the Bible When…
1. We think we are the first ones to understand God’s message.
We think we are the first ones to understand God’s message and that there were no true Christians before us. No! The Bible has existed since the fourth century after Christ and it has been read by billions of people. Out of these, surely millions possessed higher intellect than we do and they humbly kept their faith in line with the Catholic Church. “Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation,” (2 Peter 1:20). Paul said in Galatians 1:8 that even if an angel from heaven should preach to us a gospel other than the one that the apostles preached (including Sacred Traditions), let that one be accursed! So it is clear that private interpretation is prohibited and we should stick to what had been preached from the beginning of Christianity. Interpreting it on our own would be a way to found another strange sect.
2. We think that every word is an instant problem-solver today.
No! The Word of God is indeed life-giving but that does not mean whatever difficulties we have today will disappear by reading the Bible. In Biblical Hermeneutics, we encounter the word “exegesis” which means the process of finding the meaning or meanings a biblical text had for its own author and for its original readers. We have to ponder what their problems were and what God wanted them to understand. From there, we can then reflect the messages shed on the present time and circumstances.
3. We think that God taught everything from the beginning.
No! God taught his people for more than fifteen centuries from Abraham to the apostles but not everything. As per Paul, the teachings followed by the Jews were custodian laws until Christ came (Galatians 3:24-25). Other words for custodian are disciplinarian, tutor, or guide. As Christians, we have the full revelation in Christ – the Word of God. We should believe in Christ and observe all things whatsoever He had commanded us (Matthew 28:20).
4. We think that God did not have in mind the coming of his Son in the Old Testament.
No! From the very first message which God gave his people, he had in mind the coming of Jesus Christ and the mystery of his cross and resurrection. We need to read and understand the Old Testament in this light. References to Jesus, his person and mission, are mentioned in the Old Testament especially in the Book of Psalms and the Book of Prophet Isaiah.
5. We think that the most important is not clearly taught.
No! Although some parts of the Sacred Scriptures that actually have a little to teach and were written in a sophisticated way according to an old literary style, we should not cling to these strange sentences to the point of forsaking what is clear and fundamental. 2 Peter 3:16 reminds us that there are some things hard to understand (in Paul’s letter) that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.
6. We think that reading what we do not yet know is better than reading it continually.
No! We should read the bible continually as proof of our love and faithfulness to God. If we persevere, God will give us all the understanding we need.
Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!
Reference: The Christian Community Bible: Catholic Pastoral Edition, page 7.