One of my last seminary classes is on Torah, the first five books of the Bible, and it's been blowing me away. I feel like I've been unlearning everything I thought I knew about Torah, and the Bible. Lately, many of my discussions with classmates and others have been how we interpret the Bible. I just wrote a confession (a statement of what you intellectually assent to, or what you "believe" about a certain theological topic) where I felt I was limited in how I could express myself. I feel like seminary has been a place of "unlearning" a lot of things I knew, especially about the Bible. Regardless of what I think about it, how I read the Bible today was much different than almost 20 years ago... ...and 10 years ago... ...and 5 years ago... ...and last year. When I first read the Bible, I interpreted it a certain way, only to find out later I was WAY off. But I believed it like it was gospel. Nowadays, I look at the Scriptures and "prooftexting" (using particular verses to support an argument) as something that is extremely limited and very flawed. There is an entire context to verses and chapters and books and the New Testament and the Hebrew Bible, and the whole Bible. Lifting out one verse to support an argument seems unfaithful to the text. But what about when I first read the Bible? What did God think about how I applied it? Why didn't God correct me in my errant ways? Why didn't He tell me right away that how I interpreted the Bible was just plain wrong? In our Torah class, our prof made a statement that sounded something like, "This (talking about a particular book of Torah) text doesn't care about a person's ethical or unethical behavior, it's trying to show you that God still works through that to accomplish his purposes." I found this statement fascinating. Quite honestly, this fact is something that amazes me about God's love: That he uses our misinterpretations, misunderstandings, misapplications, and just plain misses to speak to us in profound ways. While I may have totally been off on my take on a biblical text, it fueled my passion for Jesus even more. How does that happen? Throughout the story of Torah, God's people constantly blow it. Yet he still intervenes, still interacts, and still loves. Don't get me wrong, we need to keep "unlearning" what we know about the Bible. I feel it is part of my calling to point out some of these truths to those who may have never encountered it, but I must be careful not to be insensitive to others who are on different paths in their journey. I must let them discover these truths and "unlearnings." The great truth is that our God meets us right where we're at, and helps us move to the next step when He thinks we're prepared enough to possibly handle it. I guess that is why some people call the Bible God's Word. What other book could change a person's life even if they were totally off the mark in interpreting what s/he thought it said? If I had to be honest with myself, I may think I know a lot about the Bible, but looking in hindsight, I'm a biblical dummy. I think we all are. But God decides to work with it anyway. Crazy beautiful!