So many people don’t know this, of thing it bunch of lies, or it’s a old un-useful story book. It is such a shame.
How many of you can remember the instructions that your parents passed down to you? Another question is, how many of you are still following through on those instructions?
As a child, I didn’t get much instruction from my mother, she was full of foolish superstitions and such. Thank God I had my father’s instruction to go by.
More than likely it was passed down to them from their parents. My Father was raised in a Jewish family. The Bible tells us as parents to train up a child in the ways that they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it. -Proverbs 22:6-
Have you ever had a hard time reading or understanding how the Bible applies to your life? I have when I was not a follower of Christ and even times as a new follower. I spent many years thinking I was not faithful enough, because I wasn’t getting anything out of the scriptures outside of what the pastor told me. At first I didn’t enjoy reading it. Then it occurred to me, could it be because of the way I was reading the Bible? The Bible is God’s instruction manual, to teach me exactly how I’m supposed to live my life. Yet I didn’t see how I was supposed to be navigating things like the internet, social life in the middle of the pandemic. If the Bible is a instruction manual, should I be able to come to it with my problems and find the right answer! Of course I should, but of course this is not the way the Bible works. We need to add prayer, meditation, and worship, to know the right answers. We can learn a lot from the Bible. Without adding the extras that God says to add the approach to reading scripture is wrong and could be the very reason your not getting anything from it.
The instruction manual style reading is that you will go through the text with a particular problem and expect that the text will give you the answer. Think of trying to assemble anything from IKEA. You are sitting there with a bunch of parts with no idea of how to construct your purchase. Opening us the instructions will guide you along the very process you must go through to get the desired result. Instruction manuals give us a path the must be followed with 100% accuracy if we have any hope of attaining intended result. The Bible does not, and cannot, function in this way. Rather the Bible functions like many great pieces of literature, teaching us virtues and a mortality that is intended for us, in order to be the kind of people we were created to be. It teaches concepts, not processes. Approaching the Bible like an instruction manual would lead many people to make wrong choices, simply because it is in the Bible.
I hope we can all recognize that if we are unable to have children, husband still shouldn’t sleep with their wife’s servant in order to get one.
Another problem with approaching Scripture this way, is that it completely negates what the intention of the writing was. There is an entire discipline in the field of Biblical Studies, called literally criticism, that is devoted to figuring out exactly how the text works. The goal is not to diminish Scripture to being no more than reading the latest New York Bestseller, but rather a recognition that language has a particular genre. By focusing on the composition, structure, and style of a text, literary critics enables us to see the world of the text.
Nothing is more important that our ability to read a text closely and sympathetically, with both an eye and ear to the internal dynamics of a text. Like the difficult passage that says “My tears have been my food day and night, while people still say continually “Where is your God?” -Psalm 42:3- if my understanding is the Bible is an instruction manual. This kind of thought may lead you to believe that if anyone questions the existence of God, you may not consume anything but your own tears, because that would mean Jews and Christians would never been allowed to actually eat food.
If we come to the Bible expecting like spiritual owner’s manual complete. with handy index, a step-by-step field guide to the life of faith, and absolutely sure answer book to unlock the mystery of God and the meaning of life, then conflict and stress follow right behind and, like a leech, find a place in your heart and soul to latch on.
The Bible is made up of 66 separate pieces of literature. Each one has its own meaning and understanding behind it. That means that we have to approach each text differently, in order to understand what God is telling us through His Word.
If you approach the Bible as an instruction manual, you will almost certainly miss the meaning entirely and end up with a skewed view of God. Do not try to read the Bible as an instruction manual. God is teaching us things through His Word, but it not meant to be entirely prescriptive. It teaches us the morality of being a follower of Christ, but it doesn’t give us the instructions on putting that mortality into place every day throughout all time. Reading the Bible’s context provides for us a path to a deeper connection with God.