Usually when I write, I try to write about what I know. I mean, that’s what all writers are supposed to do, right? I try to come to some kind of conclusion-however feeble it may be- for my readers’ sake and for my own neurosis.
Today is a little different though. Today I only have questions. And this is why:
Last Lent I tried to start a Bible reading regimen where I was going to read the entire book in one year. I did great during Lent, but everything tapered off once Easter came and went.
This year, I have the same goal, and darn it, I’m going to do it. Like my dad says, “When you get up to the pearly gates one day and God asks if you’ve read His book, you can’t say, ‘No. I didn’t have time.'”
Anyway, here I am, reading the Bible each day, and, surprise surprise, I am being left with waaaaay more questions than I am getting answers. I suppose that is a good thing.
From my millions of questions, here a just a few that I thought you could offer some insight on. I want to understand the Bible in the way God intends it to be understood, so, help?
I just finished reading Leviticus and Numbers, so keep those books in mind when understanding my questions.
1. As Catholics, why are these books important to us? What is our main purpose for reading and studying them? What am I supposed to “get” from these books (although I don’t think my personal benefit is always the point; but I’m not sure how else to phrase that)?
2. How do I talk to non-believers about these books? I know they are often quoted by people who are trying to make the point that the Bible is flawed and full of hatred/hypocrisy/antiquated laws. What is my answer to these allegations? For example, we are not required to make animal sacrifices and oblations pleasing to the Lord anymore, but we still do not condone homosexual activity. Why are some rules still upheld while others are not?
3. If my understanding is correct, Jesus came to die for our sins so that many of the laws and sacrifices from these books would be unnecessary afterward. Is this true? What else can I learn about this idea?
4. It often seems like the God of these books is a harsher God-a God who demands worship, sacrifice and sometimes seemingly cruel consequences. How do I make sense of this when it seems so different from the God of the NT-the God who is so loving and forgiving? The love of a father?
5. How do you explain Numbers 35:16-19 to people using it as evidence that the Church is hypocritical in its view of sanctity of all life?
See? Lots of hard questions. I don’t want to just read the Bible; I want to understand it in a Catholic way. What are your thoughts? If you’re having a hard time articulating answers, resources are always welcome too.
Thanks in advance, friends.
Copyright 2013 Jenna Hines