I know that from all the rhetoric about this topic you are expecting the next word in the title to be “Clear” but actually for me it is “Fuzzy”. I don’t know how many times in my life I have heard the phrase “just study the bible for the answer to your problems. When a child dies from a fall in the bathtub the Christian answer to our total devastation is to “read the Bible”. It is as if we can just randomly open a page and then the tragedy in our life becomes clear.
Lets face it the Bible is simply not the homogeneous document that many want you to believe. When we realize that it is a collection of documents by for the most part unknown authors, who were recording events as they saw them or a story told to them. Does that mean that the Bible is not worth reading? It is very worth reading as long as we keep its origins and purpose in mind. Many of the people who wrote the various documents were, or at least they believed they were, inspired by God. They thought they were relaying God’s messages to those who read their words.
One of the major problems I have with the Bible is that you can take a stand on just about any topic and find some verses here and there appear at least on the surface to back up your position. If you were for slavery there are places where people are told to obey their masters, and therefore slavery must be condoned by God. Examples abound in this realm.
From a personal perspective I find the Old Testament very boring and even sometimes against the teachings of Jesus. In fact Jesus himself said as much when he mentioned that an eye-for-an-eye was wrong or when he rebuked the religious establishment of his day for all their food restrictions and other unnecessary rules. Instead he was replacing those rules with two simple commands. Love God and love each other. Catholics don’t seem to idolize the Bible to the extent that most Protestants do. But then again there is worshiping of Mary to replace it.
There is very little in the way of public documents to be found about Jesus. When the Bible was formed by the council under the tutelage of a Roman King many of the documents that they did not include in this compilation were purged as heretical. In fact just having some of those “other” words was often punishable by death! Fortunately some alternate views have managed to resurface after many centuries but most are gone from antiquity. While the Bible is anything but perfect it is almost all we have about the history of the early Christian years. For that reason alone it should studied and will justifiably be held in reserved reverence.