Wednesday, November 28, 2007

How do you read the Bible?

I was thinking lately, about how I have interpreted Scripture over the years, and have been re-evaluating this practice. A friend of mine, from a Catholic background, asked me years ago, if I believe in the Bible and if I actually interpreted it literally. To which I answered "Yes!", and she looked at me with horror. I now am realizing that the Bible cannot be translated literally or at first glance..and to do so can be very harmful. Let me try to explain what I mean. First, as Christians we no longer are under the law, and are in a New Covenant with Christ. If you look at Scripture the New Covenant took place after Jesus death, so any teaching in the Bible prior does not literally "apply" to us. We really need to look at the context, and read who was speaking to whom, and evaluate the fact that there is a cultural aspect that may not "apply" to us in this day and age. Another reason I used to read the Bible literally is because I looked at it kind of as a rule book, or a how to live my life kind of book. However, I do not believe the Bible was intended to be a rulebook, I am more inclined to think of it like a story of God's amazing steadfast redeeming Love and grace towards mankind from the beginning. Or, like a love letter, to us. So, viewing it in this light helps me to read and interpret it with a lense of grace rather than law or legalistically. I think far too often as Christians we miss the point of Scripture, take it out of context and do damage to ourselves and others....I do not believe this is the Father's heart for us! Another thing I have struggled with, and this has manifested more recently over this past messages that are preached on 1 or 2 verses of Scripture without the whole context of the text being brought in or any cross referencing of other Scriptures. Making a whole message out of one verse, you really can make it mean anything you might want.
Anyway, again these are just my thoughts on the subject, anyone have anything to add?
I truly just want to learn how to read and interpret the Bible as God intended. I essentially believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, in that sense I do take it literally, I am just seeking to properly interpret it.


Bino M. said...

Great points. I remember at some point in my Christian walk I stopped eating pork because I saw it in the book of Leviticus. I considered skipping church on Sundays as a terrible sin. In all these I became highly judgmental towards others.
Grace, miraculously changed literally everything in me! It gave me a fresh perspective about the Word of God, realizing that we are under a brand new covenant. I have heard some one say, the entire Bible is written for us, but not to us. I agree whole heartedly with that.

lydia said...

Thanks for stopping by and's always comforting to know others who have had similar thoughts and perspectives!!