Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Slow Bible - Part 1 of 3

You might have heard of Slow Food or The Slow Food Movement. It advocates for regional produce, organically grown food, food prepared with care and nutritious food. It’s a contrast to fast food like takeaways and microwave meals; meals which are obviously not always the healthiest option. In a culture often obsessed with fast (food),ultra-fast (broadband), and even instant (noodles); slow goes against the grain. We even seem to be obsessed with speed when it comes to reading the Bible. Bible-in-a-year plans encourage us that in just 3.2 chapters a day we can read our way through the whole Bible in 365 days.
That’s a pretty quick when you consider you’re attempting to read, contextualize, comprehend, and apply to 21st Century life an historic document that is 2000 + years old and originally written in Hebrew and Greek. Notwithstanding if you get a couple of days or weeks behind you’re going to be reading like crazy to catch up!

I’d encourage you to embrace ‘slow’ Bible reading, especially when we remember that the goal is ‘Bible living’ not simply ‘Bible reading’. The Bible contains the big story of God at work in our world. In this big story it is possible to make sense of humanity’s story, of this mysterious and beautiful world we live in, and of our own individual stories and experiences. The Bible, as God’s Word invites, inspires and challenges us to re-orientate the whole way we live. It frees us from our own small worlds and the ruts we get ourselves into. It invites us to be lost and found in God’s great love story. Viewed like this, reading the Bible is an enticing proposition and potentially life changing experience.

It’s not always an easy book however. Filled with genealogies, enigmatic poetry, quirky stories and letters written to particular people in a particular time and context far removed from our own 21st Century postmodern world; it’s a grand-narrative to be worked through slowly rather than in a great rush. A qualitative reading of comprehension and application will be a hands down healthier approach than a quantitative reading of a quickly consumed daily word count.

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