When I talked to a friend about her confession last year for my 31-Day series - about the bible not being important to her - the conversation sat like a lump in my throat. Not because I was uncomfortable or I didn't understand her reasoning, but because it made sense to me.
I used to think the Bible was the infallible Word of God, The Truth - all capitalized. I used to think it was the only book I should use to learn about God. Like my friend, I spent my childhood memorizing scripture and being rewarded for it. And, like my friend, memorizing didn't equal understanding.
I've changed my mind about the bible.
I remember the scariest thing about being a pastor's wife was when students or their parents would ask me what particular scriptures meant. They'd look to me for an answer so they could then apply the scripture to their life appropriately. I would always deflect with a question, "What do you think it means?" I never wanted to assume responsibility for their understanding. I believe discovery is healthy and necessary; it creates a more personal connection with God. Besides, I didn't want anyone to take my word for it.
And honestly, I was beginning to think the bible didn't need to be given so much weight in or power over our lives.
Now, the bible is like any other book on my shelf. Its pages are littered in highlights; scriptures and parables noted that have brought me comfort or shifted my viewpoint, playing a pivotal role in my spiritual growth. It's a fantastic adventure, horrendous and beautiful. I look to it for quotes, maybe an affirmation to get me through the day. I look to it to remember who I was.
I trust my own intuition when it comes to reading the bible if I read it at all. I don't lean on anyone else's interpretation, because what the bible is to you doesn't have to mean it's the same for me.