How You Read Your Bible

The problems many of us feel regarding the Bible may have less to do with the Bible itself and more to do with our own preconceptions

Peter Enns, Inspiration and Incarnation

What comes to your mind when you think about the Bible reading?

Morning devotions, check list, schedule, falling behind, and boring?

How you read your Bible largely depends on the end goal you have in reading your Bible.

What are the reasons you could think of when it comes to reading the Bible?

Without the proper understanding of why you read your Bible, you will most likely read the Bible with your own preconceptions – whether they are moralistic (reading the Bible because someone told you to), therapeutic (reading the Bible because it makes you feel good, right, or better), or idealistic (reading the Bible because it serves as your proof text for your context without really getting into the context of the Bible itself).

We can detect first two cases rather easily and encourage people to read the Bible beyond the reasons of personal devotional reading, list of do’s and don’ts or as the springboard to jump into addressing practical issues of life.

But the idealistic reading of the Bible is hard to detect because we predetermine the Bible as the out of this world kind of special book that no one can challenge because it is the Word of God. We value words like “inerrancy” and “infallibility” to protect the circular reasoning and fail to enter into the world of the Bible that is quite foreign and different from where we are and what we are used to.

I am sympathetic with Peter Enn’s assessment of the “scriptural docetism” when it comes to our unwillingness to enter into the worlds that are unfamiliar and different. The failure to engage with the context of the worlds in which the Bible is written can be translated into the failure to engage with the context of the world we live in.

Would you be willing to invest time for you to learn about the contexts of the Bible as you would invest your time in researching your children’s school or reading the nutritional content of the food your family eats?

Some recommendations for learning about the contexts of the Bible:
The Moody Atlas of Bible Lands
Archaeology and the New Testament
Archaeology and the Old Testament
Peoples of the Old Testament World
Backgrounds of Early Christianity

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