Often you hear people say: "Just read the Bible and do what it says!" The problem with this attitude is that different people, even though they read the same Bible, come to very different conclusions about what it actually says or the teenager who says "the Bible is just written by people from a long, long time ago and doesn't have any meaning for me at all now". In my Parish of Kiama in Australia, some people also tend to think of the Bible as "God's little instruction book for life." While there is some truth in this as the Bible certainly does contain much teaching on how to live, it is far more than just an instruction manual. It is the written record of God revealing in history who He is, what He is like, who we are, what we are like, and what He expects of us.
I was asked by a teenager at Easter last year whether the account of the Genesis story of creation that is read every year was actually true and if it wasn't did that mean a lot of other events in the Bible weren't true either? Another struggled with the different kinds of writing in the Bible and would get confused in approaching parables.
Another parishioner, was unsure why St Paul's writings were so different to the Gospels?
How do we deal with these common experiences and questions for people on their journey to God? Do we leave them to struggle and say just read it and it will make sense or do we engage with them assisting them to discover ways in which to interpret the Bible and find its most probable meaning and therefore "break open the Word" more fully for themselves.
The Church realizing this difficulty in interpreting the...