So as an avid commentary reader and one who has made a daily habit of expanding my Biblical literacy, I wanted to write some advice to put you the path to well-informed biblical interpretation. My hope is that you will eventually come to stand on your own and not rely on the interpretive skills of others, even more so, I want you to be able to spot bad interpretation in a sermon, a small group, or in the media. Too often we say to ourselves “that doesn’t sound right,” but we simply don’t know why. Well, read these tips, grab a cup of coffee, and start interpreting.
A guest preacher was speaking at a series of meetings at our church. He was teaching on the prayers of the apostle Paul found in his New Testament letters, and encouraging us to pray these inspired prayers as our own. Then, at one point he held up his Bible said, “Folks, when you pray, use the prayer book.” In that moment I suddenly realized, “The entire Bible is a prayer book.
Distracted, obligatory, ordinary — I doubt any such words came across Moses’s mind as he ascended the mountain. But some three thousand years later, we rarely marvel that God permits imperfect humans into his presence. How did the shocking become so ordinary to us? Is it even possible for our experiences with God to be that fascinating?
Most Christians are aware of the importance of personal reading of God’s word. But just how should our daily Bible reading be done? Are there any guidelines for making the best used of our time and gaining the most from our reading of God’s word? Here, then, are five guidelines that have helped me much over many years of reading Scripture.
Reading is a necessary skill in a literate culture, for it empowers us with knowledge, whether lifesaving information on safety labels or trivial details about celebrities. It is such a part of our lives that we no longer ask why we read. We just do it. Out of all of the things we could possibly read in our world today the Bible is unlike any of them.