The way we read the Bible affects the way we see the world. In his book, “The Bible Tells Me So”, Peter Enns tells us
“The Bible isn’t a cookbook…not an owner’s manual…not a legal contract…not a manual of assembly…When we open the Bible and read it, we are eavesdropping on an ancient spiritual journey. That journey was recorded over a thousand-year span of time, by different writers, with different personalities, at different times, under different circumstances, and for different reasons. In the Bible, we read of encounters with God by ancient peoples, in their times and places, asking their questions, and expressed in languages and ideas familiar to them. Those encounters with God were, I believe, genuine, authentic, and real. But they were also ancient – and that explains why the Bible behaves the way it does. This kind of Bible – the Bible we have – just doesn’t work well as point-by-point exhaustive and timelessly binding list of instructions about God and the life of faith. But it does work as a model for our own spiritual journey. An inspired model, in fact.”
If we read the Bible as a cookbook, manual, and legal contract, then we may insist: 1) the earth is young, and human history is about 6000 years; 2) genocide is God’s command; 3) God is fine with slavery, and discrimination against different genders & races; and …
If we read the Bible as our model, then we will continue the spiritual journey and “recognize something of ourselves in the struggles, joys, triumphs, confusions, and despairs expressed by the biblical writers”.