Kierkegaard on the Bible

From Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard (edited by Charles Moore):

The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.

I confess that I fear being alone with the New Testament. I have a small library of Bible commentaries and other works of Christian scholarship that the authors produced in order to provide illumination and instruction. But I mainly stack them up and use them as a defensive wall, a barrier between me and God’s word.


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