A reminder for my friends at IKON...
Imagine the bible as your boyfriend or girlfriend. Describe your relationship.
A little rocky? Communication breakdown? A long distance relationship?
In theory, we might all agree that the bible's really important. Christians talk about it. Speakers illustrate their messages with it. You can find little bible verses on everything from calendars to In-and-Out Burger wrappers. A few of us even have bible verse tattoos.
Realistically, how much do we read it? Even when we try, do we understand it? Find it inspiring or confusing?
Here are three ways to approach the bible:
1. Read the bible as a STORY
The bible is 'the story so far' in the true story that God is still busy writing. When we begin following Jesus, he writes us into the story.
2. Read the bible with PURPOSE
Verses like Ephesians 2:10 and 2-Timothy 3:16-17 tell us that the scriptures have a specific purpose: to commission and prepare us for good works that God has designed us to do. As NT Wright say, "It's about becoming agents of God's new world -- workers for justice, explorers of spirituality, makers and menders of relationships, creators of beauty."
3. Read the bible with a Central FOCUS
Passages like Luke 24:13-32 and 36-49, 2-Corinthians 1:19-20, and Hebrews 12:1-2 help us see that the key to interpreting the bible is the person and accomplishments of Jesus. We take two laps around each passage we read. First, we ask "What did the original readers get out of this passage? What did it mean to them?" Second lap: "What does this mean in light of Jesus, his teachings and works?"
NEXT STEPS Get into the story. Read Genesis, beginning to end, Exodus 1-20, the book of Mark and the book of Acts. These books are the foundational stories that the entire bible is based on. While reading, ask yourself: 1) God, what's the story? 2) God, what in the world are you trying to accomplish? 3) What's my part in it all? 4) What will it look like today for me to follow Jesus?
Society offers us many competing stories. The way of Jesus, as spelled out in the bible, offers us an alternative story to live by. Let the story of Jesus begin to "in-habit" your life. It's a life-long, continual conversion.