Let's go meet the Bible


Laurence Belling is an animator at the League for the Reading of the Bible in France. She has long accompanied high school students in this discovery. She now accompanies adults. For her, the whole Bible points to Jesus Christ.

Is the Bible a manual for everyday use?

Above all, it “serves” our relationship with God. It is the privileged medium that he chooses to speak to us, together with prayer. In turn, it is a landmark for our daily life. We discover the will of God for the whole of humanity, major ethical benchmarks, such as the value of life. It offers a lot of relational benchmarks. But these are benchmarks that must be interpreted according to the context of the text on the one hand and the reader on the other.

Why do we sometimes have difficulty making the Bible a benchmark?

One of the most important landmarks is the love taught by Christ. But it is a demanding love. There is a famous line that says: "What bothers me is not what I don't understand in the Bible, it's what I understand too well". When God asks to forgive, it is not difficult to grasp, but to live!

What to do with difficult texts on women in the Church?

First, we must take into account the context of the Churches to which the apostle Paul writes and then remember that Jesus was surrounded by women.
In the Gospel of John, he confides to the Samaritan woman some profound things that he did not tell the disciples. He overturns the culture of his time.

We tend to take texts for ourselves. For example, blessings. Is it right?

Yes, in my opinion, we can transpose them. Certain behaviors bring a blessing, it is a truth. When we read a Bible text with faith or as a prayer, God can speak to us outside of the original context. In prayer, words take shape. God can lead us like this, that's what makes this word alive!

Even some apostles quoted the Old Testament a bit out of context because it served their purpose. But they weren't doing it dishonestly. Paul, for example, reread the Old Testament in the light of Christ and the resurrection.

How to progress in our discernment?

We will be able to better discern what God is saying if we ourselves are "steeped in the Bible". It's like a language or a culture: by practicing it every day, you learn faster.

Another help is to read it in a group. In the Protestant world in particular, you are a bit of a pope all to yourself. There is certainly freedom of conscience and the light that the Holy Spirit gives us, but for the more difficult elements, it is good to ask people who are authoritative in the matter. It is also showing humility and that helps us to get out of our subjectivity.

N. Horton

Find more articles on spiritual, the magazine that brings together Christian women from the French-speaking world. 

Article originally published in February 2022

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