Have you ever wondered what history will make of the things you are concerned with? This is of course, not to trivialize the things that are real issues (such as earning enough money to buy food, getting enough sleep, etc) that no one in history will ever know about. What I mean are the large scale debates and arguments that seem to have captivated the imagination of our society.
How will history judge our reading of the bible?
Certainly there have been times throughout the course of human existence when the bible was read wrongly. The easiest example of this in recent memory is the position of many in this country (USA) towards dark skinned peoples of African descent; less than human, destined by God for slavery, etc. These positions were argued from the bible; people really thought that this was the bible said. To almost anyone reading such nonsense in the present it is unbelievable. How could anyone think this way? How could anyone read the bible this way?
It’s actually easy.
You willingly (or otherwise) are unaware of your own context. You refuse to admit that your experience and opinions about what will better your situation have any bearing on the way you read the bible. But they do, and your best hope at being faithful is to admit that they do, study them, and try to discern how they impact your reading. Once this has been “mastered” find someone who reads it differently and compare the differences and see what informs those differences.
So what about now?
What is the slavery of today? Gender issues? Sexual orientation? Gender roles? Food ethics? Consumer ethics? How do we allow the bible to read us so as to convict us of our wrong-sided-ness? How do we end up on the right side of history (understand I am using the term differently here than “winning”)? Confess our filters. Seek out and acknowledge what biases our assumptions leave us with.
And above all, ask yourself if your opinion is influenced by what will gain you something. Are you only looking out for #1?