For such is the nature of men, that howsoever they may acknowledge many others to be more witty, or more eloquent, or more learned; yet they will hardly believe there be so many as wise as themselves ~ Thomas Hobbes, "Leviathan"
There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death ~ Proverbs 14:12
We have never read, or believed, "just the Bible".
Before we could read, we were being shaped by our parents, our siblings, our playmates, our environment, our experiences. Bible verses were put into a context for us before we ever saw their context. For most reading this blog, our Bible is shaped by a globally wealthy, culturally free, Anglo society that had subjugated natives, enslaved Africans, and exploited the lower classes. Our subculture within that 20th-21st century American society told us what was important, right, good, and just...before we ever processed a word of God's Word. And when someone told us what the Scriptures meant, we believed them - because it made sense to us. A few of us even changed our ideas of what it meant when confronted with a different perspective, but still based our conclusion upon our already ingrained ideas.
But the words of the Proverbs and of Hobbes ring loud and clear - we assume too much. We assume we know what the Bible says, what it means, and what to do. We automatically accept the judgments of those who say what we already agree with and discard those who disagree, rarely considering we may be wrong. My brothers and sisters, it should not be so.
What do you believe? Why do you believe it? Where did those beliefs come from? And, when we have diligently answered those questions, are those answers good enough?
Let's work through it together.