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How to read the Bible well

08.25.18 | Bible Study | by Stephanie O'Brien

    This Summer we have had a conversation on the topic of the Bible.

    We titled it: The Bible?

    The question mark is intentional because we live in a time where the Bible is not always given an assumed place of authority in people’s lives. The truth is, the world around us keeps changing and it has felt appropriate to have a conversation about why we trust, rely on and give authority to the Bible. It takes intentionality and openness to be able to discover the Bible for yourself and we hope this conversation has been helpful.

    Here you can find a link to recordings of all the sermons.

    We also hope that everyone stays curious about the Bible! That you would see it as a lifelong pursuit to wrestle with scripture just as the ancient Hebrews did. In order to read the Bible well, we need to ask good questions.

    Here are the questions we would encourgae you to consider when approaching scripture:

    Overarching Questions: What is God saying? How will I (we) respond?

    Exegesis Questions (discovering the original intended meaning):

    When?

    • When is this passage in the timeline of the Big God Story?

    Where?

    • Within the “Cannon” (library of books we call the Bible)?
    • Where within that specific book is this passage, what surrounds it?
    • Where is the setting of this story, poem, genealogy, etc?

    What?

    • What is the genre:
      • Historical Narrative
      • Law
      • Wisdom
      • Psalms/Songs/Poetry
      • Gospel Narrative
      • Apocalyptic
      • Letter
    • What is this passage about?
    • What else is going on in that culture at that time?
    • What can the original language tell us?

    (1 min video on how to look up Biblical Greek and Hebrew)

    Who?

    God (should be a given), who are the other characters? 

    Who were the original readers/hearers? What perspectives might they have been coming from?

    Why?

    Why might this have been important enough to be written down?

    Why is this passage a part of the over all story of God?

    So what?

    What does this tell us about God?

    What does this tell us about humanity?

     

    Hermeneutics Questions (finding the contemporary relevance):

    How?

    How might God want to speak to me through this text?

    How does this text lead me towards God’s Truth?

    How is my heart, is it open to the Holy Spirit?

    Senses?

    What seems to resonate with me in this passage?

    What words or phrases seem to be highlighted?

    What so I sense/hear/feel/wonder as I read?

    Who?

    Who are the people I will  invite into the process of discerning this passage and it’s application to my life and the world around me?

    For what?

    What might the Holy Spirit guide me to do/say/pray/live because of this passage?

    The day we stop our pursuit of questions about scripture, we stop being curious and we miss out on the adventure of following Jesus!

    The hope of this series is that we would answer questions - but also encourage you never to stop. Because when we stop, we become disengaged from not only this ancient book, but I would suggest also from the God who loved us enough to give it to us.

    Stay curious friends!

    Introductory Resources:

    How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth by Gordon Fee & Douglas Stewart

    How to Read the Bible Book by Book by Gordon Fee & Douglas Stewart

    Scripture As Communication: Intro to Biblical Hermeneutics by Jeannine Brown