He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27
As I’ve lived with the Bible for decades, one fundamental truth has made itself clear: How we interpret the Bible reflects who we are at the time we’re interpreting it.
For example, as a teenage Christian I was focused more on the right/wrong, good/bad, black/white teachings and stories. That helped shaped my identity. Jesus is coming soon, and I want to be on the raptured list.
As years passed, I found myself less drawn to the Armageddon verses. I’d learned more in college and in the college of life. I’d fallen in love, married, and had a family. Jesus’ sacrificial love and compassion for all, transcending human distinctions, pointed the way forward. His parables came alive.
Now, in my later years, I’ve become amazed at how such a big book really is quite small. It’s a narrative of humanity’s walk with God and God’s covenant with humanity. When you dig down through the many historical, cultural, and theological layers, you get down to just one verse: Love God and love others. Period.
My teenage self would use my AARP self as an example of someone who’s gone over to the other side, deceived by the Prince of Darkness. Nothing will change that teenager’s mind other than years of discovering for himself how large the world really is, and how larger still is God’s heart.
Some wisdom comes with age. It’s easier to glimpse God’s vision for a united, not divided, humanity. Jesus taught it and lived it. Simply focus on loving God and others as he did. Everything else is commentary.