Friday, April 28, 2006

Two ways of reading the Bible

That title is a bit of a generalisation, but its the summary I came up with this afternoon when trying to explain to my VETAMORPHUS students about the different ways I read the Bible, and why we need both.

The first is the way in which we read it so as to hear from God, to receive encouragement/challenges for our Christian walk, to learn more about our faith, or Jesus, and to generally look for ways in which God's story is interacting and intersecting with our own.

The second is the more scholarly approach, of trying to understand who wrote it and why, who they were writing to at the time, what was going on in the church and world at the time etc.

See I reckon often we can get caught too heavily up in either one or the other. If we focus too heavily on the first, we may rarely get the chance to really delve into the stories, and perhaps try and find some much deeper meaning than we first thought. Then if we focus too much on the second it all becomes academic, and doesn't transform or change us, or speak into our lives as much as we'd like.

I think good Bible study needs a bit of both, because they shouldn't be mutually exclusive, they should hopefully be one...


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