“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? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.”
Kierkegaard had also written about “Bible Societies, those vapid caricatures of missions, societies which like all companies only work with money…” And then went on to some truly harsh sentiments.
What lesson should an allegedly Bible-believing Christian such as meself take away from such thoughts? Keep reading the Bible, believe in the bedrock truths of God and his creation. But don’t believe it to be the literal truth (as in, “this is being written on March 17, 2009” is a literal truth). Know that we live in our time. God’s time is different, and unknown to us. And that God’s truths may not manifest themselves in our lifetimes.
God is the ultimate authority. His word may usually be discerned through the lens of the Bible. Usually; not always. And know this: it would not be easy to actually live our lives as we should, in fear of the Lord. In constant readiness for his second coming. Yet that is exactly what we are called to do (Matthew 25:13).