Two Mistakes We Make Reading the Bible

book and coffee

I love reading the Bible. I love studying the Bible. I love teaching the Bible.

I will admit I am not the best at teaching it. There are others that surpass me, surpass me significantly. Yet, after a sense of God’s call in my life in 2001 to teach the Bible, going to seminary, and now teaching the Bible for fifteen years both as a pastor and in higher education, I know it is one of my deep loves.

In these fifteen years of studying and teaching the Bible, I have encountered some interesting perspectives on studying the Bible – “prodigal thoughts,” if you will. I have embraced some of these myself, but over time I have learned there are better ways in approaching the study of Scripture.

In all, I would highlight two easy mistakes we make in studying the Bible. Continue reading

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The Misapplication of Jeremiah 29:11

bible

Yesterday, I saw some people posting a link to an article written by Dr. Russell Moore: Does Jeremiah 29:11 Apply to You?

I think Moore hits on some very good points. One point he emphasizes is how this verse is situated within the context of Jeremiah 29, as well as the whole book of Jeremiah. As Moore says himself: Continue reading

Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes (4) – Individualism & Collectivism

Misreading Scripture with Western EyesAfter a two-month hiatus, including a month of holiday in the U.S., it’s time to get back on track as I walk through Randolph Richards’ and Brandon O’Brien’s, Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes. The text is basically an introduction to the art of hermeneutics, or how to interpret Scripture.

Here’s a brief recap of my first 4 posts:

  • Preview of the book
  • Chapter 1 – Issues above the surface: mores (the fundamental moral values of a group that go without saying)
  • Chapter 2 – Issues above the surface: race & ethnicity
  • Chapter 3 – Issues above the surface: language

Knowing the first part of the book dealt with issues above the surface (using the illustration of an iceberg), the second part of the book, chs.4-6, shall involve aspects of understanding Scripture that go just below the surface.

The first aspect is one that is of great interest to me: individualism and collectivism. Continue reading

Interpretation, Shmerpretation

scripturescrollToday I came across a question regarding the Bible: Why is interpretation necessary?

Everyone is aware that interpretation is needed on our, the reader’s, part. Well, it’s likely that some don’t believe much interpretation involved. But one of the foundational elements of Bible reading is that of interpretation – a lot of it. It’s never as simple as black ink on white paper. There is a WHOLE lot more involved. Yes, a MASSIVE amount involved.

And, as I’ve shared before, the reformation principle of the perspicuity (or clarity) of Scripture can be a bit of a misnomer. I am very happy to recognise that parts are a little clearer than others. Is it 50-50, 80-20 or 20-80, in favour of unclear to clear? I’ll leave it to another decide. But the Scripture is not so readily clear.

Hence, interpretation. Continue reading