I noticed that I have not had much to say in a while. I’ve been thinking of simplicity and where it fits into my life. This mornings readings took me to Mark 6 where Jesus utters one of the most oft quoted lines by pastors. Verse 4 reads – And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” It was the next verse that spoke to me though. Verse 5 reads like this – And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. Simplicity. The mighty work is not the healing…it is salvation. The Gospel. Simplicity. This leads me to an idea that Soren Kierkegaard introduced me to a few years ago but have not been able to make my own until recently.
Kill the commentators. Today’s mass of Bible interpreters have damaged, more than they have helped, our understanding of the Bible…If you wish to understand the Bible, then be sure to read it without a commentary…
The main point as I see it today is that modern evangelicalism has started to create a new holy Roman church by injecting so much commentary into our sermons that instead of hearing the Gospel, we hear the commentary. The church has become passive aggressive; not by coming out and saying that we should leave the Bible reading up to the professionals, but by implying it with our preaching. Bible reading has thus been reduced to a daily act of obedience to God with some benefits on the side as we realize more truths on how to live a successful life. It’s Zig Ziglar with a Bible flavor. If I do this thing that the Bible teaches, I will be a successful Christian. I”m not even referring to the prosperity guys, I’m referring to the religious guys. He goes on to say…
Of course, the commentators are not the only ones at fault. God wants to force each one of us out again into the essential, back to a childlike beginning. But being naked before God in this way, we do not want at all. We all prefer the commentaries. So with each passing generation we grow more and more spiritless…The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?
Simplicity. Why are we able to understand anything that we read? Grace. God grants us the ability to understand Scripture by His grace. When we read Scripture and it ends up reading us more than we read It…that is grace. When the truth of the Gospel hits us when Scripture is preached…that is grace. Without grace, Scripture is a death sentence. With grace, Scripture is a flashlight revealing our true state . (Not sure how theologically correct that is but that is what came out. Clearly I am typing faster than I can edit.)
So, read your Bible. Read it as one who is covered by grace and who longs to understand God’s written revelation to us. Pray before you read. Every time. Put the commentaries down and leave your study Bible on the shelf unless you are writing a paper. Read the Bible and enjoy it.