My social media is buzzing about a GQ article listing the Bible as one of twenty-one books you don’t have to read stating that many of these “great books” have “not aged well.” I’m not sure why this causes so much attention and excitement. If it surprises you that someone would dare have this opinion about the Bible, you are not paying much attention and have not been for quite some time, now. This is not the first time the Bible’s relevance has been in question. What happen to bring about this opinion? You might judge my suggestion as the twenty-second unworthy read.
GQ makes this observation.
“The Holy Bible is rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it.”
This may be a slight exaggeration, but only slightly according to a study made by LifeWay Research.
“Less than a quarter of those who have ever read a Bible have a systematic plan for reading the Christian scriptures each day. And a third of Americans never pick it up on their own, according to a new study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.”
How can so many people who claim the relevance of the Bible do so without having read it or read it all? Maybe it is because they have trustworthy resources that have read it, studied it, and shared its relevance. I believe there are reliable students of the Bible who speak and write solid culturally significant interpretations of the Bible. I also know speakers and writers who interpret the Bible in line with their own prejudices, morals, and unexamined beliefs. I think history and current events back me up on this point of view.
I am not in support of GQ’s opinion. Their conclusion is not based on sound fact. The quote above, as I pointed out is an exaggeration and there were no studies documented to support it. They follow this statement with several other unsupported statements.
“Those who have read it know there are some good parts, but overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced.”
I, for one, have read it and find several good parts and several of the books of the Bible are very good literature. I have some knowledge of how to study literature having a BS in English and a MA in Education and over twenty years teaching literature and writing. GQ goes on to make the unsubstantiated claim that the Bible contradicts itself. I think this statement provides evidence that GQ has only given the Bible and most of the other books on their list a biased, incomplete read. But in their defense, they never claimed to have.
“We’ve been told all our lives that we can only call ourselves well-read once we’ve read the Great Books. We tried. We got halfway through Infinite Jest and halfway through the SparkNotes on Finnegans Wake. But a few pages into Bleak House, we realized that not all the Great Books have aged well. Some are racist and some are sexist, but most are just really, really boring.”
Unfortunately, some of those who claim to live by the principles of the Bible are as guilty as GQ in many of their interpretations of the passages – a biased, unsubstantiated interpretation of the Bible. Others claiming to be following the tenants of the Bible are relying on resources and their misrepresentations of the Scriptures to determine what those tenants are.
You who are believers reading this are probably sure I am talking about other believers. At least, you hope you’re in the right. But of course, you must be right. I’m sure you have made a prolific study of the Bible as literature. You’ve probably delved into the many different cultures of the times each of the books of the Bible represent. You must have to make such dogmatic conclusions about what the Bible teaches about homosexuality, mental disorders, justice, racial equality, and, of course, the relevancy about the Bible.
I’m sure you know what the Bible teaches about anxiety, anger, hatred, and revenge. I’m sure you are positive that you and your fellow parishioners understand all there is to know about marriage, love, sex, and divorce.
I believe the Bible is not overrated, but misunderstood. This poor understanding is perpetuated by misrepresentation of its contents. Too often, this misrepresentation is perpetuated by well-intentioned believers of the Bible who have accepted the interpretation of it from sources that have done a limited study of the contents and drawn conclusions from it that align with their own beliefs which have not always represented the true core beliefs of the Bible.
If your conclusions are based on an intelligent study of the content or from resources which have made such a study, please share the truth. Our society needs to hear that point of view. But I caution you, if neither you or your sources have correctly handled the scriptures, please be cautious in sharing your conclusions or it can cause much harm. I believe one of the unfortunate results of misrepresenting scripture is that writers like the editors at GQ list the Bible as one of the twenty-one books you don’t have to read because it is sanctimonious and foolish.
Categories: Speaking truth
I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at Amazon.com or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.