And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. | 2 Peter 1.19-21
How you interact with Scripture comes down to what it is you believe you are reading. How you read it will define the God you find there:
THE BIBLE AS HANDBOOK allows you to apply pieces while ignoring others (because some passages aren’t pragmatic). You will find a God that is strange and out-of-touch; not applicable to your everyday life.
THE BIBLE AS ARCHAIC BOOK allows you to judge it from your modernist elitism. You will find a mean, barbaric God who is far from your civilized existence.
THE BIBLE AS SPIRITUAL GUIDEBOOK allows you to read everything as poetic mystery. You will find a Yoda-like God who gives you quaint little saying to help you along the way.
THE BIBLE AS SELF-HELP allows you to seek out your own prosperity through God’s promises. You will find a God that operates as a heavenly vending machine (which you pay for with faith).
THE BIBLE AS RADICAL PROPAGANDA allows you to find support for your personal vendetta. You will find a God who is with you against them (whoever you and them may be).
THE BIBLE AS MORAL COMPASS allows you to read everything through laws and obedience. You will find a taskmaster God, waiting for you to make a mistake so that He can pounce.
THE BIBLE IS GOD’S SELF-REVELATION. This does not allow you to come to it for your own gain, to progress your agenda, or to dismiss it as inapplicable. Instead, we must read the Bible to see and know God. This takes work, because the Bible is not straightforward like a textbook. It is a historical document that was written by various people, to various people, for various reasons, in various genres, over a long period of time. To find God in this, we must be willing to acknowledge His complexity: that He is much bigger and wiser than we are. When we grasp this, we can find order in the creation, redemption in the exodus, holiness in the law, faithfulness in the historical narrative, His beauty in the poetic, sovereignty in the prophets, grace and power in the gospels, and guidance in the epistles. The Bible goes from being something confusing to be dismissed to the multi-faceted display of God’s complex character through time and space.
If you read the Bible that way, God will jump off the page. No longer will He seem out of touch, because He is the same God today that He was then. Let God amaze you with Himself!