Puritan Board Senior
I realize that this argument has been more or less resolved since it was first posted, but the initial sentence caught my eye, and I thought it might be wise to make comment. It should be recognized that this statement is not far removed from Popery, and in fact, one of the main reasons that Rome kept bibles from the laity was that they felt that only a priest under the interpretive instruction of the Magisterium could accurately teach the Scriptures. Let's not begin edging towards that position unawares. Just because a pastor may have academic training does not mean that the Spirit is absent in assisting believers in reading and understanding the Word of God. I still wonder what you do with the Jews of Berea? Paul was not only a well trained teacher, he was inspired! Yet, they are commended by Luke for searching the Scriptures of their own accord in order to judge whether or not what he was teaching was true. We should never feel as if we are somehow inadequate to interpret the Scriptures on our own for personal edification (which is different from public teaching), and if we do then we should reevaluate the emphasis that we may have placed in an unbalanced manner upon the ministry. Pastors are important for the church, and they are gifts, but that does not negate the responsibility (and joy, might I add!) of a believer to study the Word and to grow on their own.Yes, I would rather have a trained pastor than my own bible. Try not to be such a product of your time and place in history. Did you totally skip over my quote from Ephesians 4? Teachers are given to train us. I am not an ordained bible teacher. "Just me and my bible" is not my way of going about growth.
Also, the arguments that have been pressed trying to make it sound as if early Christians had no access to Scripture of their own is a distortion of the facts. There was a significant percentage of the population that was literate, and along with that, codices were quite common at the time of the early church. It is not unlikely that numerous Christians had a codex in which they kept portions of Scripture that they had copied. Most likely they did not have the entire bible, but a chapter of an epistle could be copied upon a single page of parchment. I think that these Christians loved the Word, and that many of them would have had portions copied for themselves to study, if not entire copies made by the more wealthy among them. You can find this information in various modern works on early Christianity or letter writing in the time of the NT.