Reading the Bible can be a daunting task, but the goal of many organizations over the years has been to make it easier for the common person to read and understand its message and God’s word.
A good approach
There are two ways that most people approach the Bible – for inspiration and to determine what it means. For inspirational reading it can open one’s heart to God in a very special way. Many people choose to meditate privately or form or join groups that discuss specific passages for the purpose of deepening one’s spiritual side.
On the other hand, not that the two ways never coincide, there are many scholars and regular people that pour over the many pages of Scripture to determine its meaning and revelation to us by God. This takes much care since the Bible has many different literary styles within it. This is most likely due to the reason that it is not just one book, but a collection of books written by many human authors and one divine author. We do not know who all of the authors were. “Bible” comes from ancient words meaning “library”.
In fact, Jews and Christians believe that Scripture was written by humans but under the guise of the Holy Spirit giving the books both human and divine authorship.
The Catholic Church teaches that “the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error the truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation.” Therefore, the Catholic Church believes that what God wants is in the Bible and that it is to benefit us. However, as stated in the beginning, reading the Bible can be a daunting task.
Many mistakes have been made by reading the Bible in a manner that it was not intended to read. For instance, there are many groups out there that take the Bible to be a word-for-word book in which nothing can be taught about Jesus or Christianity unless it is explicitly written in the Bible.
This is a gross error and should be examined carefully. With the first book of the Bible, Genesis, there are two different accounts of creation that happen in two very different orders.
In the first account of creation (Gen. 1:1-2:4) God makes the heavens and the Earth, the animals and then finally man with man being the climax of His creation being as man is created in God’s image. However, in the second story of creation (Gen. 2:4ff-25) God made the heavens and the earth, man then plants and animals. If we take both of these accounts to be literally true we believe in two very different orders of creation at the same time. It is impossible for two contradictory statements to be true at the same time.
Therefore we must conclude that since there are different writing styles in parts of the Bible then possibly the author(s) of these two stories was simply using them to make a specific point rather than providing a scientific account of the beginning of life. Literal translations and interpretations simply leave us open for error and misguidance. Be wary of anyone that treats the Bible as strictly to be read literally.