“the matter is quite simple. the bible is very easy to understand. but we CHRISTians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. we pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. take any words in the new testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. my GOD, you will say, if i do that my whole life will be ruined. how would i ever get on in the world? herein lies the real place of CHRISTian scholarship. CHRISTian scholarship is the church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good CHRISTians without the bible coming too close. oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living GOD. yes it is even dreadful to be alone with the new testament.”
― søren kierkegaard, provocations: spiritual writings of kierkegaard
obviously as a philsopher and theologian kierkegaard didn’t completely dismiss scholarship and the pursuit of knowledge. still he recognized how it could be used, and often is used, to avoid the claims of CHRIST. i think we often do the same thing with our bible studies in the modern, wstern CHRISTian world. we says to ourselves “surely CHRIST couldn’t mean that … it would ruin me” and then we spiritualize, intellectualize, and generally bounce around the statements of JESUS till we can figure out a way to look like we are following HIS word while not really doing anything other than what we want to do.
“surely when JESUS said for me to love my enemy HE didn’t mean them. if i treat them with love they will merely hurt others.”
“surely JESUS never said that i should give that much”
“JESUS never meant for CHRISTians to help the poor that much. that would keep them from helping themselves”
etc., etc. etc.
it should be “dreadful … to fall into the hands of the living GOD. yes it is even dreadful to be alone with the new testament.” it is scary to me when i find that it isn’t difficult to me, because i usually find that at those times i am no longer really listening to the words of JESUS.