Did you know there was more than one way to read the Bible? Call me slow, but God had to take me to three different schools, onto two different continents, and through many different classes and profs to realize this. I had no clue!
There is, what I like to call, the typical Western way of reading Scripture. Which is a valid way to read the Bible. Basically this entails opening up the Bible, reading it, and letting the Holy Spirit speak to you through what you read. Using whatever info you have inside your head at this moment. And this is a life changing way to read the Bible and can be a lifetime of studying.
However, there are other ways to read Scripture. One way is through studying the historical, geographical, cultural method. Study the history that surrounds the Bible, learn the geography of Israel and map out stories. Learn about the Jewish/Middle Eastern culture and apply that to the Bible stories. There is so much in the Bible that we miss bc we just don’t know what all is in there, or how to read it. Biblical Atlases, commentaries, and books can help with this study. This is a lifetime of studying as well.
There is however, another way to study Scripture. Looking at it as a work of literature. Now, I am not denying that it’s the Word of God or historical BUT, the Bible is also a work of literature and from the little bit of studying I’ve done it’s an amazingly beautiful work of art. We wouldn’t open a novel and read in the middle expecting to understand the stories and the characters. Yet, how often do we open the Bible in the middle and expect to understand it? With a story you start at the beginning and read through to the end. And the Biblical authors automatically assumed that this is the way people would read their works. Read the stories as if they were plays, see it in your mind and realize what the “narrator” does and doesn’t tell you. Mark out the scenes and see how the characters switch and move. Read the books and learn the structure that the authors gave to their works. Chapters and verses are actually really new additions! There are more books becoming available to help with this type of study, but one big way is just reading and re-reading the same book, passages, over and over again and beginning to see and make connections yourself.
Trust me, each way is fascinating and opens up the Bible in ways I never imagined….. Bryan and I did get a copy of our message but only 2/3 of the message was on there so we’re trying to get the entire sermon before we put it on the blog for you 🙂 sorry about the delay.