Tuesday, September 27, 2016

how to read the Bible....

A good article on avoiding spiritual/biblical McNuggets...Will you eat nuggets; some don't eat at all. Salmon and steamed veggies; steak and potatoes; pizza; or potato chips?
Pastors, don't tell us to read the Bible. Set up low-cost ways to show us how to read well; to help hold us accountable to read; and to do so on our own and in community. Don't just preach at a passive audience; preaching is important but inherently (quite) limited); get your folks to do something other than be a spectator to your preaching.

That said, reading the Bible is not that difficult to do-- once you get into it. It starts with a desire to want to know our Good and Great God better; to see what is revealed about theology and life/wisdom from the Scriptures; to want to be increasingly comfortable in the goodness of God's Kingdom.

What to do?
-Pray for guidance.
-Make a plan: If you read one chapter per day, you can read Matthew or Luke in four weeks; you can read the Gospels in three months; and so on.
-You'll probably want to do this with a friend or a group, directly-- or at least, with some form of accountabilty.
-Read regularly-- ideally, daily.
-Underline key words and keep a journal.
-Discuss what is revealed to you in community for deeper understanding and to avoid squirrelly inferences.
-Ask yourself why a word, a phrase, a verse, a section is in there. How would it be different if those things were omitted.
-Ask yourself what you would do-- and what you hope you would do-- as you read Biblical narrative.
-Look for life applications.
-Commit to obedience; reading for its own sake is a waste of time-- and may make you crazier than you are now.
-As you can, avoid the mistakes of secular and "religious" fundamentalists: watch scriptural context, literary genre, cultural context, compare passages to other similar passages, etc.


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