Part of the problem with reading the Bible these days is our instant culture. We expect instant solutions to often very complex problems. Combine this with the tendency in popular evangelical culture to see the Bible as a handbook for living our lives, a self-improvement manual, and it’s a recipe for disaster. While the Bible does address life issues it does so in in neither a quick nor a facile way. It’s primary purpose is to glorify God and reveal his plan of redemption for and to his people. Much of the Bible is written in a style and genre which is intended not to give the quick and easy answer, but to make the hearer and reader think and think deeply on the content. An example:
Mark 9:49 For everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
What does it mean to be salted with fire? To answer this, one has to consider how the imagry of both salt and fire are used throughout the Bible, and especially in Mark. One also has to examine the local context. Jesus is talking about judgment. How does the idea of judgment fit being salted with fire, and how does to apply to having salt “in yourselves” (and what does that mean)?
This passage, and many others, defy the quick and easy solution. Let me suggest that commonly quoted and applied passages deserve the same level of thought, study and meditation that I am implying passages such as the above deserve…