Reading For Yourself Vs Learning From the Church
i read the bible on a daily basis. i've been doing this for almost 2 years. when i was about 12 i picked up the bible and read it through from cover to cover. at that i age i didn't understand much of it. but i was curious not being raised in a 'religious' home nor a home that even mentioned the existence of a God.
i've attended church on a regular basis in my past. i've even worked at a church. and you'd be amazed at the education i received in regard to 'today's church.' this prompted me to quit attending religious services all together. i floundered about for a couple years without any kind of religious or spiritual influence in my life.
in 2004 i was injured. all i wanted, more than anything in the world, was for the pain to cease. i began praying again. at this point, more than ever in my life, i felt a desperate need for God in my day to day. i knew i didn't want to attend 'services' so i began working on the internet in chat rooms. i gave bible studies and provided support on all levels to those who came to the room. after about 7 months of this and several episodes among management i realized that "Christians," no matter where they are - be it church, online, or the grocery store, are all the same! they make me sick!
this is when i began reading the bible. i opened that huge book to the first page and i read every word in order, line for line all the way to the last word of revelations. in 10 weeks i'd finished my first 'adult' read. i learned more in that first read than i had in all my interaction with the church, giving bible studies, working in the church, socializing with "christians" etc. so when i was done i didn't stop. i turned back to page 1 and started over.
i give the bible about 30-45 minutes per day and i am able to complete the entire book in 3 months time. i do this 4x's a year and will continue to do so until the day i die. the reason? because each time i read i find more and more depth to it. it all weaves together which causes an amazing dynamic of truth that most never realize. and it's most certainly NEVER discussed in the 'church' ...
many people ask me why i read the bible 'in order' from page 1 to 15hundred something (all bibles being different.) the reason is; that's how i'd read any other book i bought. i wouldn't purchase a stephen king book and read chapter 38, then 27, then 3, then 45. no ... i wouldn't do that. it wouldn't make sense and i'd miss a whole lot reading it out of order, out of context. it would be confusing to say the least and i wouldn't understand what the author intended for me to. i'd only be getting bits and pieces of the story at best ... just like reading the bible out of order. and this is why so many people say they don't understand the bible. they're only getting bits and pieces of it rather than the whole of it. this is also why each person is able to make a verse mean what they want it to rather than what it's truly meant to within it's WHOLE story and book. the only way to get the WHOLE is to read from beginning to end and repeatedly. you aren't going to GET IT in one read or even in five reads. it takes a lifetime and even then i doubt all questions will be answered until the END.
there's another component to why i do this. i found long ago you cannot trust man. man is fallible at best. the church consists of men, women and children and is headed up by one single PERSON (male or female... makes no difference.) however, that one PERSON is fallible. they might have the best of intentions, believe in God, etc. but they don't realize they are quite possibly misleading their parrish with their own perceptions. not to mention if a church goer does not KNOW the bible, the WHOLE bible ... how will they know what the preacher, pastor, father, etc. is teaching IS the TRUTH?
due to my 'education' of the church and it's patrons, i read. i have not turned my back on God because i turned my back on the church. as a matter of fact, the church was destroyed by Jesus Himself ... therefore ... i read! EVERY ONE who believes in God or professes to SHOULD!