Learning To Read The Bible Differently
The other night I taught the first of a seven-week Bible study class that I've been really excited to teach. At one point in the class, I was just reading and teaching from the text, and there was this great energy in the room that you could absolutely feel.
And I thought to myself:
"I'm sitting here on a wooden stool in a classroom teaching from a several-thousand-year-old passage of Hebrew scripture, and everyone is engaged, and the energy is crackling--and I am about to come out of my skin with joy!" Who knew the Bible could still be so exciting?!?
Despite all of the energy that we felt in the moment last night though, I am constantly reminded of what an uphill climb it is to try to talk about the Bible to people.
And the reason for this is because of the way the Bible is constantly misrepresented by people who claim to hold it in such high esteem.
Far too many terrible conversations that exclude, diminish, discriminate, belittle and shame begin with the words, "The Bible says."
We need new ways to read and talk about the Bible. We need to see it in all of its mystery as the unfolding story of God's loving, redeeming relationship with humankind and all of Creation.
I recently read this wonderful quote from Luci Shaw that sums up exactly how I long to see people read Scripture:
How energizing it is that the Bible is pierced through and through with metaphor, analogy, parable, simile, comparison. God is saying, "This is how I bring my truth into your human reality. My principles, my ways of doing things are clothed in story.
May you open your Bible today and read it with this in mind. May you find inspiration and joy as you unfold the story of how God is saving the world.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.
If you are looking for some great books to help you re-frame the way you read the Bible, I highly recommend two amazing books by Peter Enns: The Bible Tells Me So, and How Does The Bible Actually Work. I'd also recommend Rachel Held Evans' book: Inspired, and Adam Hamilton's book Making Sense of the Bible.