How do you read the Bible?
Are you looking for facts? Do you consider it to be an instructional manual?
Maybe you’re afraid to study it too closely because you’re not sure what God is trying to tell you. Written thousands of years ago it doesn’t seem relevant. Some of the stories are hard to understand.
Sometimes we’re afraid that there is a right way and a wrong way to understand scripture. We might not engage it because we don’t want to fail.
Besides, it’s a BIG book! It covers a lot of time. Is everything to be taken literally? It seems like some people “get” it and others use it as a weapon.
God’s Word has always been read with various interpretation, imagination and with an ear for hearing God’s voice. This is best done in community, with other listeners. The Bible isn’t a textbook. It’s a book of stories, of poems, of prayers, and about people. People like us. People who asked questions, who messed up and ran away and suffered and struggled. We hear about how God become one of us and what that means for redemption and restoration.
Let’s open our Bibles like our Jewish sisters and brothers and ask questions, use our imaginations to go beneath the surface, and remember that “Questions are as sacred as answers.” (Leonard Sweet) Let’s do it with others to gain a wider range of understanding, to give and take and play. God’s story, in fact God’s self, is strong enough for our exploration of Scripture. Of course, historical context and understanding that has been passed down to us are important, but there is possibility in coming to hear God’s voice. It might be even more valuable to hear God’s voice than to understand exactly what is written.
We hope to see you on Sunday for worship. We’ll praise and thank God and hear Jesus reading Scripture. It won’t be the same without you!
Grace be with you,
Who will you read the Bible with?
Devo inspired by Rachel Held Evans and her book, Wholehearted Faith, chapter 8.