Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How to read the Bible

I love reading through the Bible once a year. For me it's a great discipline to keep me from only visiting those bits that I like or feel I need to read for some specific reason or other. The problem with reading through the Bible is a year is that it can easily become an exercise in simply getting through the material rather than properly engaging with it and feeding on it.

I was going to twitter Martin Luther's comments on reading the Bible but I thought it would be difficult to understand them without some small explanation:

First I shake the whole Apple tree, that the ripest might fall. Then I climb the tree and shake each limb, and then each branch and then each twig, and then I look under each leaf.
It would be nice to not only have all the hours in the day to read and meditate on God's word but also the energy and discipline of heart to do so. But it still stands as an encouragement to me to work through each passage I am reading and ask the important questions:

  • Who is this speaking to?
  • What would they have understood by it?
  • How does this relate to Jesus?
  • How does it relate to me through Jesus?

And then some of the older questions that divines used to ask:

  • Is there a promise here for me to claim?
  • Is there a command here for me to obey?
  • Is there a warning here for me to heed?
  • Is there a truth here for me to rejoice in?

There are no end of blogs, articles, tweets, papers, books and collected works to wade through but you know... the Bible is better than all of them.

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