Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On Reading the Bible (Well) pt 2

A few days ago I wrote about reading the Bible well. I have noticed people have not been taught how to read the Bible for everything it gives. Instead we are stuck in a world of privatization, where the only application from scripture is for the individual. The problem with this is God revealed the Bible for everyone. Scripture has an original meaning, and we need to understand what God's intention for the message was. Without this we can fall into the trap of internal faith without any real base to stand on.

With this in mind we looked at
 Revelation 3:14-22. We discovered many people misinterpret this passage, and it can be disastrous for some believers. I have actually heard pastors say God would rather us be completely against Him if we are not going to be "on fire" or "sold out" for Him.

We examined the passage and found, within the context of the time, this is probably not what God was saying at all! Instead, God wants us to stay close to Him the source of being cool and refreshing, or hot and therapeutic. Jesus was using a cultural aspect to show the citizens of Laodicea that they were not close to Him anymore. No, they were far from Him, like lukewarm water, they tasted nasty to Jesus.

How can we avoid this problem? How should we read the Bible?

I have found there are 5 basic, and easy, steps to be able to read the Bible well.

1. Read the passage!

Read the whole passage. Don't just read a verse. Verses are meant to be seen in the larger context of a message.

2. Understand to whom it is being written.

If the passage is directed to exiled Israelites, it might have different cultural considerations then if it was written to brand new Christians in the 1st century.

3. Determine what God was saying to the people He was speaking to.

With the context and culture in mind we can probably understand more about what God was telling them.

4. Seek out and extract the transcendent (timeless) principles.

As mentioned earlier, God's word is written for everyone. It is sufficient for a knowledge of saving grace. If we can see both the cultural and scriptural context then we can see what is the principle God is communicating to everyone.

5. Apply this transcendent principle to the culture and life you live.

We can take what God has told everyone, and apply it to the ways we live. This will ensure we are at least trying to connect with the body of believers.

Christianity is not a private religion. It does have private aspects, but always within the context of the community/church (the body of believers). In order for this to work, we need to see what God wants everyone to know.
Stand to Reason has a great way of explaining this same general information.  Check it out Here and Here

In part 3: The 5 Steps applied.


Max said...

I have really enjoyed the last two postings on this subject. They have really intrigued me and enlightened me(especially in reference to the Revelation passage.) Thank you for that :)

Gabriel Pagel said...

Thanks Max.

I hope I can keep posting helpful information.

bstoermer said...

Just read the "Other Drug"... very powerful. At the recent talk I gave several men came up to me indicating a problem in this area. As you know, in the past two years I have hired four men who have served prison time for this addiction. Everyone needs to be aware of how serious this is!