The Lexington Herald-Leader published in its “Weekly Offerings” for the last day of 2005 section a brief review of a handful of books for its “Faith & Values” section.
To keep this post focused, I will only write about one of these, though I really should buy it before writing about it, but I don’t need to read it to say what I’m saying, I think…
The first book listed is the Read and Learn Bible. The listing begins with an interesting statement: “The Bible might be the best-selling book of all time, but for many people, it’s also one of the most difficult to understand.”
To “many people,” is it difficult to believe that the Bible is hard to understand? After all, it is a spiritually discerned book made understandable by the Holy Spirit’s enlightening of a believer’s mind. When the majority of people–especially those who would disparage the word of God or find fault with it–are viewing the book as a blind man would view a precipice three steps away: they can feel their way around, but are they truly safe doing so?
And, few are those who find salvation; so I do believe it is accurate to say that to a few people, the Bible makes sense and is eagerly read and studied, while many people are stopped when reading turns into thinking at the first unclear passage.
The opening phrase goes on to point out that the Bible being difficult is especially so for young children. It is this reason that the the Bible is ripped to shreds with much of its content removed (see Revelation 22), rebuilt in an “easy to digest” manner.
But do you know what else a young child doesn’t understand easily (if at all)? Calculus, auto mechanics, quantum theory, and so on. Why don’t they take the bulk out of those subjects and give them to children, expecting them to then have a working knowledge? What about medical science? Having a kid with medical knowledge would surely be useful, right?
Obviously, to have a working knowledge of any of those things, one will have to work at it and spend years studying the material.
The same is true for the Bible, and shortcuts–especially shortcuts which violate simple biblical commands about removing things from the word–are not recommended. The bulk of the Bible is very easy to understand to anyone who would simply believe what it says–a task much easier for children. And if I remember right, the King James Version averages out to a fifth or sixth grade reading level? It isn’t that uncommon for someone in grades before that to be able to read at that level, especially if they would simply read.
Believe it or not, the more you read the Bible, the more you’ll understand it and the easier it’ll be. Children ought to be encouraged to read God’s word when they are young so that when they are old, they will not depart from it nor will its teachings depart from their minds. If they learn to take shortcuts derived from the milk of the word and never “eat” through the actual Scriptures to find the meat, they will be setting a poor precedent for the remainder of their lives.
Children are much more intelligent than we may think; this is much truer for those children blessed with parents who take the time to teach them the Bible and with a church which refuses to water down the word when given to children.
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