You have permission . . . to Read the Bible.
You have permission to get inside the mind of the writers of the scriptures. They expect you too. The writer’s inspiration is for your illumination. Just as the writers of scripture were “carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21), so it is the same for us. We also should be carried along by the Holy Spirit so that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened (Ephesians 1:18) to what the real author of Scripture is teaching.
I think this is what keeps people at bay from the bible. For many years, because people could not read, they were always told what to believe. But for anyone who has found the freedom to engage with the thoughts of the writers, you begin to see a more significant and more profound aspect of reading scripture. Like Martin Luther, we all have moments where if we follow along with the writers and their thoughts, we begin to unveil and discover life-changing realities. For Luther, it was discovering justification through faith alone. What fantastic truth this was. It started a revival and a long continuous adventure of reform. It’s important to realize that we are not taking away the authority of scripture by engaging the thoughts of the writers. Often, we come to scripture as if the Holy Spirit somehow possessed the writers. As if they were robots moving their hands along as the spirit inhabited their bodies. But what we see is God using their circumstances, situations, experiences, concerns to articulate what the Spirit was speaking about Christ.
“Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.” -Charles Spurgeon
You have permission to search the scriptures and see if what the writers were expressing lines up with what we are called to believe. Think about the people of Berea. They did not just accept what Paul told them. No, “they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” ( Acts 17:11). There were considered 'noble' for looking into the Scriptures to match up with what they were being called to believe.
Sometimes you may think because you are not a theologian, or have a PH.D., or haven’t studied to learn Greek and Hebrew, that you could never examine the scriptures for yourself. Let me be the first to tell you, that’s a lie. You don’t have to know or achieve all of that to search the scriptures. You need the author to carry you along to engage and understand the writers.
“Unless we form the habit of going to the Bible in bright moments as well as in trouble, we cannot fully respond to its consolations because we lack equilibrium between light and darkness.” -Helen Keller
You have permission to open your eyes and open your ears and let the scriptures shout Jesus! The bible is beckoning you to take the journey to look closer to the word of God. I think some of us are afraid to read alone. Maybe because you feel you must be an excellent reader to read the bible. Perhaps you think you need to be a seasoned Christian to read the bible. Maybe you think you need to know more before reading the bible. No. You don’t have to have the brains of Einstein or St. Augustine to understand the deep things of God. You just need the heart of great explorers like Marco Polo, Magellan, or Christopher Columbus. So think of the Bible as God's cryptograph. All you need is the code to unlock the cipher of scripture. And Here is the code: It’s Jesus. His Arrival. His Sorrow. His Splendor. His Life. And it’s all Good News for you and me. So get to it. Unravel the greatest mystery of Scripture—Jesus of Nazareth (Romans 16:25-26). You have Permission.
“The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.” -Augustine of Hippo