The Read and Learn Bible

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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Rick Beckman