Know the Bible
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” [meekness and fear = gentleness and respect]
1 Peter 3:15
So many people profess to know what the Bible says, and it's a vast array of people, including clergy, priests, preachers, seminary students and graduates, deacons, elders, laymen, professed Christians, atheists, agnostics, polytheists and many more. They all proudly proclaim that they know what the Bible says. They make grandiose statements like, "The Bible was written by man and for man" or "The Bible is full of holes" or "The Bible is meant to be taken as allegory and not in accordance with its literary style, as fact" or "The Bible can't be trusted as inspired and inerrant" or "The Bible is just an old outdated collection of ancient writings". These statements are made by professing Christians, Clergy and Priests as well as atheists and agnostics, so where are they getting such nonsense? It can't be from the reading of God's word. It can't be from discerning the meaning of biblical text as it was intended to be read and understood, in accordance with its literary style and context. It can’t be from the vast array of biblical and extra-biblical written history. It can’t be from archeological, anthropological or linguistic study. It can't be, because a logical and learned individual would conclude that the Bible is true and accurate, if they had studied it. The Bible should not be worshiped, but it should be revered, cherished and trusted.
The Bible was meant to be read. If you haven't read it you can't profess to know what it says. If you can't understand it as it was intended to be understood, then this is what you need to do. You need to look up some references, illicit help from someone that is more scholarly than you or use trusted Christian websites to assist your study. God didn't inspire men to write things that couldn't be understood by the average human - He just didn't. He wants us to know and understand by reading and studying the scriptures. First, you have to actually read it. It astounds me that people profess things and adamantly assert things about scripture and they haven't even read it! It's interesting to call them on this too. "Oh, is that right, so you actually read the Bible and discovered this yourself?" "Well, I haven't really read it, but that's what they tell me." "Okay, who are they?" "Umm, ah, you know – them..." Obviously they are interpreting what someone said in passing, as fact, and that person overheard it from someone else and from there the comedy of errors are perpetuated and expounded upon. This is my philosophy about scripture: 1. You have to read the Bible at least once, before you can make any coherent judgments about it. 2. You have to read the Bible multiple times, in a studious manner, looking up things you don't understand. 3. You have to become a student of Middle East and Mediterranean History and customs of the specific point in history you are reading about. 4. You have to become a student of recent history to fully understand the Prophets and Revelation. 5. You must study Biblical prophecy to really understand many passages in the Bible and to know what awaits us in the future. My philosophy list above is not beyond the average person's capabilities. It is a lifelong quest, a diligent exercise, a labor of love that takes time and if you do it right, it takes a lifetime. Be patient, take it one step at a time and enjoy yourself. Start by reading the entire Bible.