approach cautiously

Firstly, you must know something if you are to continue reading. I make no attempts in this blog to be deep or eloquent (I’m sure you’ve figured that out by now.) I’m simply asking questions honestly. Thanks for reading…

As I’m finishing up The Blue Parakeet (yes, it’s taken me a little while,) I have many questions floating around in my soupy brain. Scot McKnight‘s take on ‘how’ we read the Bible has been challenging to say the least. I would really like to not be the only one to have read this book, so if you have read it, please let me know (I have many questions for you.)

McKnight offers 3 approaches to reading the Bible:

1)reading to retrieve – returning to the times of the Bible in order to retrieve biblical ideas and practices for today

2)reading through tradition – giving tradition the finally authority on interpretation

3) reading with tradition – acknowledging tradition respectfully

“So, how can we read the Bible that is both a “return and retrieval” reading as well as being respectful of the Great Tradition? I suggest we learn to read the Bible with the Great Tradition. We dare not ignore what God has said to the church through the ages (as we return and retrieval folks often do), nor dare we fossilize past interpretations into traditionalism. Instead, we need to go back to the Bible so we can move forward through the church and speak God’s Word in our days in our ways. We need to go back without getting stuck (the return problem), and we need to move forward without fossilizing our ideas (traditionalism). We want to walk between these two approaches. It’s not easy, but I content that the best of the evangelical approaches to the Bible and the best way of living the Bible today is to walk between these approaches. It is a third way.”

(page 34)


Now my questions…

– how do you read the Bible?

– maybe my first question should be: do you read the Bible? we’ll start there…not as a guilt trip, but as an honest question. Do you actually read the Bible? Or is it more a little snippet here, a little snippet there…or so rarely and randomly that you can’t really remember the last time you sat down to just read it? maybe you just let the Pastors read it for you…

– and when/if you do, how do you read it? straight up/ no context? lightly/ with little contemplation (dare I say prayer)? attempting to live out every single word (have fun with that – dude, AJ Jacobs tried)? or so bunged up with tradition that it skews the Word?

– now, before you think of ways to make me painfully aware of your disagreement – take a moment, step back from the computer monitor and think to yourself: what is the most God-honouring approach to reading his Word? know that I’m doing the same….



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