“even the scholars can’t agree about the bible. How will the ordinary person know what’s what, if these well educated theologians can’t see eye to eye.” (a commenter)
World-class scholars, in all their knowledge, regularly rely on speculation in interpreting an ancient document (the bible) whose original cultural and linguistic contexts are only partially recoverable (and that too amidst much speculation).
In layman’s terms: professional bible scholars have to speculate about ancient history / culture / language, in order to then speculate about what the bible’s ancient authors were trying to say.
Meanwhile, people in churches regularly engage in what they call “bible study” as though they were somehow thereby obtaining “God’s truth”, when in fact they are just performing naive speculation at a level far below that of the world-class scholars, who are already busy bickering amongst themselves.
This is why trying to use the bible as a kind of basis for “God’s truth”, as though reading that small little book (relative to the vast knowledge available outside that book) would magically grant one access to indisputable “truths”, is sheer wishful thinking.
Truth can be obtained only by the old-fashioned way: logical analysis of available evidence.
But people continually deprive themselves of the truth when they bury their heads in the sand, in the name of some misguided form of “bible study” which involves re-reading their same old English translation of the bible (not even the real thing; meanwhile, scholars are criticising each other’s translations for failing to correctly represent the bible), while trying to torture some kind of new / deeper meaning out of it that is almost always merely a figment of their own imagination, rather than something actually intended by the original bible author.
Maybe some day these people will grow out of their “monkey see, monkey do” approach to religion, and begin to see the real world in its overwhelming complexity, instead of hiding in their little grossly over-simplified view of the world, represented by their religious traditions / dogma / superstitions.
Expanding their concept of “God’s truth” beyond the small little book, may be a necessary first step.