Taking the Bible Seriously

The more I encounter Jesus in the Gospels, the more skeptical I become of my own interpretations of Scripture.

The Pharisees spent so much of their lives immersed in the Bible, and they took it so seriously. And yet time and time and time again, Jesus seems to get really exasperated with them. I love the NIV’s translation of John 3:10 where Jesus asks Nicodemus, you are Israel’s teacher and you don’t understand?

I think for so long it’s been really easy for me to point the finger at the Pharisees and pity them or mock them or whatever for missing what is now plainly obvious since Jesus came.

But… isn’t that making the same mistake the Pharisees made? Shouldn’t I be a little cautious about my interpretations lest I fall into the same trap? Is this why we have approximately 34 bazillion Protestant denominations, each one believing their particular theology is the most important?

The more I encounter Jesus the more I realize how little I truly know. I don’t want to be a Pharisee. And I don’t want to hold tightly to a theology only for Jesus to come to me and tell me, “Oh you missed the point completely.”

I don’t think it’s wrong to study the Bible. (Quite the contrary, actually) I don’t think it’s wrong to study theology. I don’t think it’s wrong to hold a high standard for personal holiness. I just want to hold more tightly to Jesus than to my flawed understanding of theology.

It’s going to be messy, and inconsistent, and illogical at times. And that makes me deeply uncomfortable. But I’d rather be deeply uncomfortable, following as closely to the example of Jesus as I possibly can, then to be deeply comfortable in a theological fortress of my own design.