How Do I Read this Thing?

 

bible

So you think you know about the Bible? Feel like you don’t know enough?  Great!  A lot of folks fall into those places! I’m not a scholar by any means. Regardless, I love the Bible. I’m at home in its words. It guides my life and principles. It defines who I am.

 

Like I said in my previous post, there is a whole lot of information (good and bad) on the Bible. Do a Google search and you’ll find a plethora of information about how you should or shouldn’t read it. Some are helpful.  Some…not so much.  So let us skip this step and take a hands-on approach. Define your goal for coming to the Bible in the first place. Don’t focus on what other people are telling you and open up a Bible for yourself.

 

Before you start (or restart) reading the Bible there are three things to consider.

1.  How do you read it?

What I mean is this:  what’s your motive for reading it?  Gleaning information?  Religious reasons?  Historical information?  Literary critique?  Is it all the above?  You need to narrow it down to the reason, because that will shape what comes next.

2. What biases are you bringing to the Bible?

No one comes to Scripture in a vacuum.  

 

If you come looking for supposed contradictions, you won’t stay long.  If you come to investigate the history, you’ll be there a while.  If you come to disprove the Bible, you’ll find lots of things to look at.  If you come to examine it through the lens of literary genres, you’ll find a plethora of styles to choose from.  Your reason for approaching the Bible will determine what you find.

 

Another facet to consider? Life experiences. Your personal experiences determine what you might bring to the Bible. You remember something you heard in Sunday School years ago. You get your information from a History Channel documentary. You rely on your once-religious aunt who had a bad church experience. You rely on the arm-chair theologians of Reddit. You had a bad experience yourself and may read that into the text.

 

This matters. A lot. Your presuppositions will determine what you walk away with. Always.Every time.  Why?  Because you’ll only focus on the one point you are there for and you’ll miss the context of the Bible as a whole.

3. What’s your view of the Bible?

It’s an interesting piece of literature, nothing more.

 

You’ll likely be there to observe its literary structure. You’ll admire the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek prose. It will reveal many literary genres. You’re going to love it!

 

Its got a lot of history, but that’s about it.

 

You’re approaching from the historical-critical route. That will take you down a fascinating path of world history. Transported to another time you’ll rocket into history’s greatest events. It’s a unique perspective. You’ll gain a greater understanding of civilization.

 

Not sure what I believe about it.

Approaching the Bible with an open, yet cautious mind can lead you on an amazing trip. You might learn more about the world and yourself along the way. There are commands and genealogies, directions and prohibitions. There will be a lot of questions that flood your brain. Write them down and talk them out with someone who is familiar with the Bible.

 

I believe it’s the Word of God

Seeing the Bible as God-breathed leads you in a different way. You’ll see it as not a rulebook, but as the Story of God. If you’re approaching from this angle, you’ll experience the Bible in a way many do not. What do I mean? You’ll see it as God speaking to you through the lives of others who sought to follow God. It will transform your entire being.

 

I think its irrelevant fairy tale and has no place in society.

If you fall into this category then you’ll come to a different conclusion than others. You’ll likely approach it to gather ammunition. I see you.

  • Tweeting about how hypocritical Christians are for eating shrimp yet supporting traditional marriage.
  • There is always a status update asking if God is so good…(fill in the blank). Asking if God could make a gas station burrito so hot that not even He Himself could eat it.
  • Picking out the crusades and slavery to pin the Christian into submission.
  • Saying the Bible is anti-women or a device of the patriarchy to hold you down. I hear you.

Let me suggest something. Making posts like that shows that you know a lot...but not about the Bible. I can’t even unpack the crazy that I read on Reddit or in Facebook groups. They’re from folks who claim to know so much about the Bible, but have no idea what it actually says. So, if that’s where your coming from, you’ll have a hard time with the Bible. Yet, I encourage you to read it. Pick at it. Scrutinize it.

 

Read the Bible.

 

At the end of the day, your goal matteres. Your approach matters. Your bias matters. What you believe the Bible is matters. It all affects what happens when you sit down and begin to read its words.

 

Before the next post sit down with a pen and paper. Answer the reasons for yourself that I’ve laid out. See where you’ll aproach it from. Then get ready for a crazy trip of awesome as we look at the Bible and how to make the most of it.

 

See you next time,

Scott

 

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