Do You Wear Glasses When You Read the Bible?
When you read the Bible, do you wear glasses? I mean metaphorically. Seriously, do you?
Communication experts tell us that we take in and process information through filters—or lenses. Often this selective process is helpful, removing the minutia of life so that important and relevant information can be observed, remembered, and contemplated.
Sometimes, however, this filtering process blocks us from seeing—and knowing—what is really significant and meaningful. Such is often the case as we read and study the Bible.
As we contemplate what the Bible says, our filters cause us to see and understand it through the perspective of our childhood upbringing, our education, and our formed beliefs. If we are socialists, we see socialism in the Bible; if we are capitalists, we see capitalism in the Bible. Similarly, we see democracy or theocracy or even monarchy as possessing Biblical support. Be we Democrats or Republicans, our political views are also mandated by the Bible, with the opposing party’s views squarely nullified. Never mind that both sides are able to do so with equal vigor and aplomb.
This all happens because we tend to filter out those things that mess with our preconceived ideas and the status quo of our lives.
To garner a fuller, more holistic understanding of the Bible, we need to endeavor to remove our “reading” glasses, considering the full text and embracing the complete narrative—not to support our point-of-view, but to confront it and challenge it.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.