The Good Wondering About Scripture

It might as well be endless, this body of work left by the ancient Hebrews—now exploded by numerous translations—each done by those who assumed too often that they understood what they were reading—who may have thought it certain that they were serving by passing it along to us as it was intended by its authors.

Gerard Dou – Old Woman Reading a Bible. Credit.

And we are left, I suppose, to glean what we can and to wonder about the rest.

And while I am bothered by the haphazardness of this situation, wishing I could mentally download and process all this information right away—so as to understand what can be understood from what we have—I have in recent years been embracing more and more
the truth of the limits of my mind and of the time I have available for study. And I think that surely, God does not expect me to get through it all, and to draw well-informed conclusions on every matter, for he knows both that I can handle only a fraction of it, even if I stay at it every day, andandand that I will make errors in judgment along the way.

And I do stay at it, though it is a constant exercise in search and find—and then search more and find more—or not! It’s also a steady exercise in error and correction—a constant refinement of understanding. And I, being yet ever informed and frustrated by it at the same time, find promise in it that I might understand at least some of the things of God.

And it occurs to me that there must be in this struggle, some fundamental good, as if by God’s design. But I see now that that good I might expect to find in it simply cannot be the mastery of this unmasterable scope. And I wonder if it is not, after all, in the good wondering about it all—in the puzzle-working and thought-experimenting wrestling with what it says and what it meant—and with my own soul, which is surely not ready to receive all of the Truth, as if I had yet been completely purified of mind and will. What good does it do for my soul simply to reach and to ponder, to wonder and to ask, to test and to compare, to examine? Surely these things alone—even where so much ignorance and error remains in me—must have some therapeutic value, I reason, or else God would not have delivered this works to this generation.

And they do have therapeutic value, as far as I can perceive, for I think I’m a better person for the time I have spent with them. And so I sit day after day, reading what they said and wrote—and what they themselves read, and making the best sense of it I can by way of both my own limited own mind and the limited minds of the translators who have paraphrased it into my native tongue.

And I am surely growing from it. And just as surely as that, I am still getting some of it wrong,
for not understanding what it means. And more troubling, still, as I have hinted at before, surely I am still getting some of it wrong for not wanting to understand it as it was intended. But even so, I will continue training my mind and my will alike in this journey toward the Truth,
until one day I shall be taken there in person—where I hope to be given full access to it all,
and to a better faculty for the grasping of it.

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