Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Bible is Not a DIY Instrument

Due to rising labour costs, the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) industry thrives. It is much cheaper to fix your own light bulb than to get an electrician to do so. Walk into any department store, and DIY stuff are easily available. Even setting up a computer network is easily done, with clear step by step instructions for the novice. Sometimes, we allow this DIY or self-help culture to influence our reading of the Bible as well. We think that the Bible is full of good advice. Thus some goes into Proverbs to read up about ethics and proper ways to behave. Some others may think that it is a self-help therapeutic book, thus opening up the Psalms for self-consolation. Some may feel that it is a book of moral stories, to help one to maintain a sense of moral behaviour for all circumstances.

All of these problematic uses of the Bible are highlighted by Dr David Wells, Professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. In "The Bible is Not Self-Help", he criticizes the 'self-help' approach and proposes a need for a 'right frame of mind' BEFORE any approach. This is a useful reminder for all, including seasoned readers of the Bible. The Bible is not a book of good advice, nice therapy or a self-help manual. It is good news.


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