Rob Bell continues his series of blog posts about the Bible, this time exploring how we deal with the awkward parts that leave us feeling deeply uncomfortable, questioning what God is truly like:
I don’t read the Bible like a flat line. I don’t see all of the passages in the Bible sitting equally side by side so that you can pick one and then counter it with another and go back and forth endlessly, always leading you to the randomness of God. I read it as an unfolding story, with an arc, a trajectory, a movement and momentum like all great stories have. There are earlier parts in the story, and there are later parts in the story. The story is headed somewhere, and a Christian, I see it headed to Jesus. Because of this, I read it through the lens of Jesus, especially the parts that come before the specifically Jesus parts.
When you read the Bible, then, you are reading an unfolding narrative that reflects growing and expanding human consciousness. When you read it as an unfolding story you don’t edit out the earlier bits or pretend like they’re not there, you read them in light of where the story is headed. That doesn’t mean that the earlier bits are bad or worthless, they’re just earlier. That’s how people understood things at that point in the story, but the story kept going. (Thank God.)