The Bible for the People

“the reformation had to undo the untold damage caused by the decision made by leaders of the Roman Catholic Church that the Bible was too difficult for ordinary people, and was reserved for scholars; and that instead of the Bible, the ordinary people would have statues and paintings; ‘the bibles of the uneducated.’ This policy produced generations of people who knew Bible images, but had no idea what they meant.”[1]

This statement helps us understand the world before the Reformation and how we have benefitted from the Reformation. It is also a challenge to our current setting. Here in the West people aren’t forbidden to read the Bible, just very often though don’t bother. The idea that the Bible is too difficult for “ordinary people” is common in our churches and people rely on “images” gathered from pop Christian songs and films or simply from the culture at large. As a result we have returned to a setting in which many people know some basic Bible images or concepts but know very little of what it all means. We are in need of a great renewal in the church directing us once more to the Scripture, so that we might properly grasp the Gospel and its implications.

Semper Reformanda!

[1] Peter Adam, “Calvin’s School of Christ for Preachers,” in Aspects of Reforming: Theology and Practice in Sixteenth Century Europe, ed. Michael Parsons (Paternoster, 2013), p. 119.

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