How Do You Read the Bible?

I’ll confess that for the first few years of my Christian life, I read the bible in ignorance. I didn’t know anything about anything concerning scripture. Sure, I knew the book names and memorized some verses over time and I got the gist of certain parts of it after a while. But I was ignorant, ignorant of so many important factors that simply must be considered if we’re going to rightly discern and interpret scripture. It wasn’t until I went to seminary that the scales were lifted and I began to see the scripture in a whole new light. *as an aside, you don’t have to go to seminary to learn to interpret scripture* It was there that studying Hebrew, Greek, and hermeneutics totally transformed my approach to scripture.

In addition to these critical tools, over the last few years I’ve also come to the point where I try to read a text, no matter what portion, in light of the whole. Once an interpretation is reached in light of the immediate context (which isn’t always a satisfactory one), I want to know what part it plays in the larger story. While I am not totally convinced a singular unifying theme ties both testaments together, there are enough thematic strands present to bind the two testaments together as a grand narrative.

All that to point you to a helpful post at The Gospel Coalition, one you may have read already. If not, take a moment to read it–it’s quite good. Jen Wilkin names and discusses a few reading strategies employed by Christians that leave them ultimately unchanged by the scripture. Why? Primarily because the scripture isn’t read in the way it should be. Check out the categories and be reminded how not to read the scripture!

Αυτω η δοξα

Biblical Studies, Old Testament

Ancient Writers?

I’ve made a few comments lately in a group discussion at LinkedIn on the subject of creationist apologetics, namely the call for a certain Christian retailer to carry more titles in that area. I commented about the worldview of the ancient writers and how the cosmology of Genesis reflects that. One gentleman responded by saying

 Ancient cosmology is another method of ‘fitting’ ‘millions of years’ into the obvious and literal meaning of the Scripture

So I commented in response and so on and so forth. His most recent comment befuddled me and I thought I’d get your thoughts on it. Ready?

The root of the problem is that when you begin with the presumption that the Bible was written by ‘ancients’ instead of the inspired Word of God, you get into trouble.

Um, huh??? I don’t know his personal beliefs about scripture (though I think I have a clue), but it seems like a classic case of assuming the biblical writers’ own view of reality had no bearing on the writing of our biblical books.

I don’t know that I’ll continue in the conversation because little will come of it. Neither of us will change our opinion based on a few terse comments, so I’ll probably leave it at that.

Αυτω η δοξα