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Often you hear people say Just read the Bible and do what it says The problem with this attitude is that different people even though they read the same Bible come to very different conclusions about what it actually says or the teenager who says the Bible is just written by people from a long long time ago and doesnt have any meaning for me at all now In my Parish of Kiama in Australia some people also tend to think of the Bible as Gods little instruction book for life While there is some truth in this as the Bible certainly does contain much teaching on how to live it is far more than just an instruction manual It is the written record of God revealing in history who He is what He is like who we are what we are like and what He expects of us I was asked by a teenager at Easter last year whether the account of the Genesis story of creation that is read every year was actually true and if it wasnt did that mean a lot of other events in the Bible werent true either Another struggled with the different kinds of writing in the Bible and would get confused in approaching parables Another parishioner was unsure why St Pauls writings were so different to the Gospels How do we deal with these common experiences and questions for people on their journey to God Do we leave them to struggle and say just read it and it will make sense or do we engage with them assisting them to discover ways in which to interpret the Bible and find its most probable meaning and therefore break open the Word more fully for themselves The Church realizing this difficulty in interpreting the Bible has tried to provide clarity at different times in history The most prominent documents were Proventisimus Deus Most Provident God in 1893 by
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