How Do You Read the Bible?

How Do You Read the Bible?

Some people read the Bible like a textbook—to amass knowledge. Other people read the Bible like a book of law—looking for precedent and loopholes to justify themselves, ideas, and behavior. Still, others read the Bible like a “how to” book—noting the things that they should do and the things that they shouldn’t.

However, all of these approaches miss the point. The people in the Bible—times understood and appreciated it as narrative. That was how it was written and is its best use —for them, and for us.

Not only should we pursue the Bible as narrative, but also with the knowledge that the narrative is best comprehended when it is experienced in the community.

Although personal Bible study and reflection is helpful and enlightening, it is also ego-centric and intellectually narcissistic. It is through the lens of community dialogue that a deeper and fuller understanding can best be discovered.

So, the Bible is best read as a narrative and—whenever possible—in a group environment.

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.

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