Reading the Bible

One thing we’ve learned from our hermanos y hermanas at church in Nicaragua is the importance of knowing your Bible. Many church members have verses memorized and use them frequently in conversation. While we may disagree on some doctrinal points, we can’t argue with the fact that reading the Bible is important.

After talking with some friends who told us about the Bible in 90 days program, we decided to bite the bullet. We liked the idea of reading the Bible fast, like a novel, and gaining the overall picture rather than studying it deeply and getting bogged down in the details.

So, why am I telling you this? No I’m not trying to brag – I want to be held accountable! I don’t want to get stuck in the 1 Chronicles again!

It’s interesting to note some of life’s parallels. I’ve randomly come across some interesting articles and blogs online having to do with reading the Bible in it’s entirety, living out what the Bible says, and the contradictions of the Old Testament laws.

This blogger is trying to live for a year according to the biblical standards for women. Also, she’s interested in Mennonites!

This was an article I read today on Christians and homosexuality, which is obviously a hot button issue. It draws on texts found in Exodus and Leviticus, which we just finished reading (thank goodness).

We’re interested in hearing from you! Have you read the Bible in it’s entirety? Where do you usually get bogged down? How do you deal with the violence and rigid laws in the Old Testament?

All I can say is thank goodness we don’t have to offer burnt sacrifices anymore – it just sounds so messy.

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4 Comments on “Reading the Bible”

  1. Kate Says:

    Love this! I always get so bogged down and frustrated when I try to read the parts of the Bible that are either littered with family histories or laden with intense rules about stoning your wife. I’m proud of you!

  2. wkshank Says:

    Yes – I’ve done various thru-the-Bible reading plans, and I’m partial to the ones that put the readings in historical/chron. order, so that when you’re reading David’s story, for example, you’re also reading Psalms attributed to him, etc. I also like the guides that pair OT and NT readings. Since the Bible is an anthology, why read it in the collection order as if it were a novel or chronology?

    I find the ceremonial laws, the period of the judges, genealogies, and the proverbs (yes, the proverbs) hard to get through… as well as some of the psalms (if I read too many at a time), simply because of the repetitive nature of the above. I agree about the system of sacrifices…except that as evidence of the seriousness of sin and its consequences, it is pretty chilling.

    That article on the Exodus passages and homosexuality… yikes! What a cheap shot. The biblical answer is of course not single-passage, so a narrow rebuttal of the same is equally silly. By the way — that Kauffman is the brother of our pastor in Waynesboro (now retired), who hung his head and looked so sad when his illustrious brother at U.Va. was mentioned.

    Intriguing blog on the creationism question. I suppose we will not know for sure until heaven, but the debate is a good challenge in standing on the infallibility and authority of scripture, while carefully looking at scientific evidence of our created world. I plan to read more about the newest developments; thanks for that link!

  3. Andrew Says:

    I’ve found it helpful to get through books like Leviticus or Proverbs or I/II Chronicles by continuing to ask questions. If we believe in Jesus, then we will believe in what He said, including Luke 24:27: “Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets [shorthand for the OT], he [Jesus] interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Somehow, every passage of the Bible is pointing us to Christ. How does Leviticus do that? How do the Proverbs? How does Revelation?

    Also, if we believe Paul really was inspired by God as he wrote his letters, then we’ll believe 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All scripture is God-breathed, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness/ so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Somehow, every passage of the Bible is meant for application. What are we to learn? What behavior are we to correct? What good works am I called to by this passage? (This can be tricky in the OT, but a good question to ask with some of those Levitical laws is “why don’t we do this anymore?” “What was it about Christ’s death and resurrection that changed things here?”)

    Final aid: recognize that the Bible is a story, but that story is made up of different genres. Thus, for each individual book (and sometimes just chapter or two) we can ask: Who is the audience? What kind of literature is this (poetry, proverbs, history, letter, some combination)? What is the main point? Who is the main character? What conflict is driving the story? Also, because the Bible is ONE story, we can ask this question on a big picture level. Who is the main point? What’s the conflict? What is the climax? Where is the resolution? (When is the sequel coming out?)

    Hope that helps!

    And PS, I haven’t finished Dance yet. Graduate school ain’t no joke…

  4. Alan & Beth Says:

    So it’s been a while since I’ve read your blog….but glad to see you decided to “bite the bullet” and do lots of Bible-reading. We’re at varying levels of “behind-ness” in our reading, but it’s been a super-valuable experience for us.


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