I came across this thought-provoking quote from John Goldingay about how we read the Bible:
If there are no aspects of scripture that they do not like and do not have to wrestle with, then they are kidding themselves. It means that they have bracketed them out or reinterpreted them. That is what as evangelicals we have to do. We know we have to accept all of scripture, so we make it mean something else so we can accept it. As a Bible teacher one of my basic concerns has become simply to get people to read the Bible with open eyes. Some people learn to, others do not. I want people to read the Bible, to be open to finding there things that they had not realized were there, to be enthralled and dazzled and appalled and infuriated and puzzled and worried and stimulated and kept awake at night by these extraordinary words from God, to let their mind and heart and imagination and will be provoked and astonished by them.
(John Goldingay, To the Usual Suspects: One Word Questions (Paternoster, 1998), 153-4)
The truth is that we don't want the Bible to make us feel uncomfortable. We want God's word to come in sugar-coated little gobbets that make us feel fuzzy, warm and loved.
The trouble is that the Bible is not an easy book and God - as CS Lewis - reminds us is a lion and when asked whether that lion is safe, the faun in narnia exclaimed: 'no, of course, he isn't safe. But he is good.'
Sometimes I wonder whether we really want God to speak to us - especially when what he says so often challenges deeply held beliefs. We're not sure that he has the right to correct what we've decided is true of him.