Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
As an isolated Quaker, the Bible is very important to me; it gives me the guidance to 'test the spirits' that I might otherwise get from other Friends. It gives me joy, and strength. It often rebukes me.
I can often say 'Yes! I know!' to what I read in Scripture. But other times I have to really dig into a passage to understand it. I try to discern between Eternal Truth and what I consider to be cultural baggage (Paul mixes the two, sometimes in a single passage, I reckon).
I read from four different parts of the Bible nearly every day; basically from the Pentateuch, the Wisdom books/Prophets, from the Gospels and the epistles. I nearly always find a passage to meditate on and help me to center down. Today I reflected on 'there is no fear in love...perfect love casts out fear.' How beautiful! What perfect Wisdom! I have a long ways to go to get to perfect love, but I know it exists, and I know Christ will take me there. Praise the Lord!
Putting aside whether to speak of 'function' in the context of 'faith' is oxymoronic (belief systems may not be susceptible to rational analysis of the functionality of their components), my interest in the NT canon is primarily to understand the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, perhaps most succinctly summarised in the Sermon on the Mount. I do however recognise that since the ministry was delivered in Aramaic, recorded into Greek several decades later and then subsequently translated into English from transcribed copies of the original Greek documents, that something’s may have been lots in the process. For this reason I am also open to alternative sources, e.g. the so-called 'Gospel of Thomas', outside the canon but contemporary to it.
A secondary interest in the NT is to understand the influence of Paul of Tarsus and the influence of Greek philosophical thought on the formation of 'Christianity', which is highly significant.
As regards the OT, it is a varied compilation (with Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs juxtapostioned!), written in three originating languages, but an understanding of the history of the religion of the Jewish people is necessary to set the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth in context.