From the 19th Century

A hat tip (with gratitude for the generous compliment) to Jason for the link to Andy, and to return their favor a reminder from Newman:

It is in point to notice also the structure and style of Scripture, a structure so unsystematic and various, and a style so figurative and indirect, that no one would presume at first sight to say what is in it and what is not. It cannot, as it were, be mapped, or its contents catalogued; but after all our diligence, to the end of our lives and to the end of the Church, it must be an unexplored and unsubdued land, with heights and valleys, forests and streams, on the right and left of our path and close about us, full of concealed wonders and choice treasures.
    John Henry Cardinal Newman, in An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, chapter 2, §1.14 (page 71 of the Longmans, Green edition of 1909).

Now, appreciative as I am of Andy’s passion and Jason’s approval, I would propose that studying the Bible constitutes one of the very healthy ways of learning how better to inhabit it. To hark back to my comparison to the practice of medicine, I would not want a doctor who knew only the correct conclusions and treatments about which she had read in books, especially when those books are gestures in the literature of controversy; “why I’m right and she’s wrong” doesn’t bring out the best, most responsible thought from any of us. But a humbled Bible study — aware that (as Andy says) the point of the Bible is not to enable us to defeat our doctrinal adversaries, but to build up faith — stands richly to strengthen devotion and discipleship.

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