Monday, October 17, 2005

How to Approach Reading the Bible

The Bible has taken a lot of flack over the years for not being all that people have made it out to be but I think it's greatest claim to truth is how it speaks to an individuals heart. You see, the Bible is a book of stories, stories of people who walk with God or without God. When we compare our story to these stories we often find our heart resonating. We go "Hey, this happened 3,000 years ago but it's happening in my life today in the same way." That's because we are all human and as humans we share a lot of things in common. This resonance gives the Bible a lot of credibility to me and I think it will to you too if you just read it.

I shared seven examples of how the Bible rings true to me in my message yesterday, Can the Bible Help Me To Find Faith? I'll let you click the link to read about that but I'll share here, Ten Ways to Approach Reading the Bible, also in my sermon (loosely adapted from Brian McLaren's book Adventures in Missing the Point).

1. Come with an open mind and a humble heart.
Too often people come to the Bible with an attitude of unbelief or an agenda to prove. They come doubting everything or just wanting to justify what they already believe. But you need to check all that at the door and simply ask God to show you what is true. You can’t hear from God when you’ve got earplugs in! So come like an innocent child with fresh ears to hear what God has to say to you.

Understand and appreciate the literature forms.
This has to do with interpreting the Bible literally versus figuratively. Some times we are supposed to take the Bible literally and you need to learn when that is. Other times you need to take it figuratively so you need to understand the cues to know which is which. You see, the Bible uses a variety of ways to communicate its message. Some times it uses poetry, some times it tells a story, and sometimes it just gives commands. Sometimes the writer exaggerates to make his point. Some times he uses understatement or even sarcasm. So just be aware of these styles when you read.

more points to come...

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