Reading the Bible: Part #3, Error Toward Love and Grace

Summarizing, I told my students that there will be times, in reading the Bible, where you can't avoid making a hermeneutical decision. As my friend Mark once told me, some issues just can't be solved exegetically, they can only be solved theologically. 

But our fear in this moment, I continued with my students, is reduced if we remember that God's got our back. God isn't waiting to damn us for hermeneutical mistakes. Yes, we have to approach these hermeneutical decisions with great respect and care. I do think God cares if we treat holy things flippantly. But the faithful are not being held over the fire in the hands of an angry God. The faithful are allowed to make mistakes.

Which brought me to the last and final point I shared with my students about reading the Bible.

"This is just my personal opinion," I said, "So take it for what it's worth. But when it comes to choosing between readings of the Bible, error toward love and grace."

A more fancy way of saying this is that we should read the Bible Christologically. We often make fun of the WWJD meme. But asking ourselves "What would Jesus do?" is a pretty awesome question. I ask myself this question all the time. And when I ask myself the question, the answer always comes back: Love and grace. I read the Bible accordingly.

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