Read your Bible.
Pray every day.
And you’ll grow, grow, grow.
It is January, and every church leader I know is encouraging his congregation to read the Scriptures. This is a valid, awesome discipline that we should be encouraging folks to make a part of their life.
But what is the point of reading the Scriptures if you misunderstand them as you read them? We have to know what we’re reading in order to be able to read it.
Too many readers of the Scriptures have no idea what they’re reading. They are told that every word of Scripture is inspired, so they assume they are all to be read the same way. But nothing could be further from the truth.
More doctrinal error have cropped up from people who did not know how to read the Scriptures in genre.
Here is the #1 guiding rule for reading the Scriptures:
To the best of your ability, read the Scriptures as the original audience would have read them.
All reading has an element of interpretation in it. We tend to see anything we read in our context first. The challenge of reading something as ancient as the Bible, especially portions that are VERY ancient, is to set aside our own context and read it in the original context first.
One of the primary things to understand when reading is GENRE. This is the type or kind of writing we are reading. The Bible has many genres of writing in it, often mingled indiscriminately from our perspective. GENRE can tell us, in the broadest possible sense, how to begin interpreting a passage of Scripture.
Over the next few days, I will highlight some of the major genres of writing that make up the Scriptures.