Monday, May 28, 2012

Reading the Bible - Part 1 of 2

Christian conviction understands the bible to be unique in its revelation of God to humanity. Christian’s understand the bible to be; 1) inspired by God (the various authors wrote in their own cultural context and language but they wrote under the inspiration of God); 2) to be infallible (the bible is not liable to deceive and when understood and interpreted correctly is trustworthy); and 3) to be authoritative (the teaching, instruction and big story of the bible is to inform and shape how we live out our lives).  With this in mind, how do we meaningfully engage with the bible?


We need to appreciate that the goal is bible living not simply bible reading. The goal is understanding that leads to transformation, understanding that leads to right beliefs, right affections, and right living before God. As well, the bible can be a source of strength, encouragement and wisdom in the process of transformation. With this in mind we go to the bible to discover the true story of humanity and of God’s love and plan for humanity. The bible contains a big story (metanarrative) out of which it is possible to make sense of humanity’s story and of our own individual stories and experiences.

That this is the case makes reading the bible an exciting proposition and life changing experience. For many however this isn’t their experience. It is easy to get lost in the various genres, genealogies, and small stories that make up the big story. Some people therefore don’t read looking to make sense of the big story of the bible and its implications for their own story and life. Rather, understanding that the bible is inspired by God and that God can inspire you as you read, some people simply read looking for a verse or line to stand out which they can underline and find strength or solace in. There is nothing expressly wrong with this but the reality is we often read into the text what we would like the bible to say. It’s also pretty easy to miss the big story that is unfolding as we tackle chapter or a paragraph every now and then looking to underline something that is personally meaningful. It is a legitimate way to read the bible but wisdom is required and, in reality, you can do better than that.

2 comments:

Harley Couper said...

When did we start using words like infallible? Its a pretty recent addition isn't it?

Harley Couper said...

When did we start using words like infallible? Its a pretty recent addition isn't it?