Friday, October 10, 2014

3 ways we incorrectly read the Bible

I'm certain there are many, many ways in which we have poorly used and read the bible throughout history.  These three seem to especially bring out the grumpy Bart:

1. We read it like a rulebook.

If the bible was a rulebook then it is most definitely the most poorly and strangely written rulebook ever.  The reality is, the bible just doesn't choose to communicate like a rulebook (with a few exceptions).  Rather, it tells a story, and it is in finding ourselves in this story that we begin to understand how we should then live.  Poetry, prophecy, narrative and other genres do not usually tend to give easily understood rules.

2. We read individual books or verses of the bible, rather than seeing (or trying to see) the complete picture.

This is just plain bad reading.  Nobody would take just chapter 8 out of, say, the Lord of the Rings, or the Betty Crocker cookbook, or a book of sonnets and then assume that they understood some concrete things about the whole book, or even the author him/herself.  But that is definitely what we do with the bible.  We chop it down into bite size versions so that we can go on with our day and feel good about our daily bible reading when in reality we usually miss the role that each specific verse, or book of the bible, plays in the grand story.  Context is king -- and even the context we know needs context.

3. We read far too infrequently and for far too short a time.

Just watch this:

Can you think of other ways in which we've tended to read the bible poorly?  Or just read poorly in general?

1 comment:

Karl Udy said...

We read it as if it were a 21st century English book