I actually get this question a lot.
The “why” and “how” of reading are huge. Especially when reading the best-selling book of all time.
Peter Enns’ latest book The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It is stretching, to say the least. But he’s spot on in his description of Holy Writ:
The Bible isn’t a cookbook – deviate from the recipe and the soufflé falls flat. It’s not an owner’s manual – with detailed instructions for using your brand-new all-in-one photocopier/FAX machine/scanner/microwave/DVR/home security system. It’s not a legal document – make sure you read the fine print and follow every word or get read to be cast into the dungeon. It’s not a manual of assembly – leave out a few bolts and the entire jungle gym collapses on your three-year-old.
When we open the Bible and read it, we are eavesdropping on an ancient spiritual journey.
That journey was recorded over a thousand-year span of time, by different writers, with
different personalities, at different times, under different circumstances, and for different reasons.
Eavesdropping on an ancient spiritual journey as we encounter Life in our own.
I can’t think of a better posture for the read.
Manual of assembly?
Not so much.
And such methods will find us with Sheila, more often than not (if we’re lucky),
dealing with our own Bible ennui. Perhaps we should stop trying so hard.
Take a smaller bite as you eavesdrop on this ancient spiritual journey.
Suck on it a bit as you step out the door
embarking on your own.