Episode 2: Ask Better Questions of the Bible
In this episode Jimmy and Patty sit down and discuss how to ask better questions of the Bible. Whether you think that you know your Bible very well, or you are a beginner to reading the Bible this episode will help you approach your bible in new and surprising ways.
How to Ask Better Questions of the Bible
- Be aware of your biases that everyone brings to the bible. There is no such thing as impartiality in biblical studies. It is hard (if not impossible) to read the Bible simply as it is, without reading into the Bible what you already think it is saying. The gold standard of modern biblical scholarship is to be aware of your biases in studying the bible, so that you can ask better questions of the text. Instead of assuming that you understand what you are reading, and that there is no disputable reading of the text then the one you are giving. This starting point causes you to seek out opinions of those that do not completely align with your biases so you can enlarge your thinking.
- Accept that you might not know what the Bible is actual says — this is okay! The bible itself is full of people who are wrestling with what the scriptures say. The psalms in particular are full of the author trying to wrestle with what the Bible seems to promise, and the reality of their situation. Instead of reading the bible to reinforce what we already think the bible is saying, try to read it as if you are encountering the text for the first time. Put yourself in the story, and try and imagine that you do not have the benefit of knowing the end. (An interesting exercise in this is the story of the Patriarchs. What were they thinking while they went through the events that are recounted in Genesis without knowing how the story ends.)
- Learn to Read the Bible in its own context. Do not read into the Bible your own context. Remember the Bible was not written to you or for you. The Bible is a collection of books from different times, from a different socio-political position. The example we briefly discussed was the popular misreading of Matthew 24:40 were most people misread this scripture as the believer being swept up into heaven, and the sinner being left behind. This has spawned a number of unfortunate works of fiction and even a few TV shows. When we place Jesus’s words back into its Jewish context (Jesus is Jewish after all) it is more appropriately read that the sinner will be swept and taken away (think flood language from Genesis), and the righteous will be left behind to enjoy the renewal of all things (New Heaven and Earth) at the end of the age.
Every journey starts with a single step. Our goal is for us to personally share our takeaways and put things into action. Do you want to be held accountable? Or hold us accountable?
Choose one or two of the challenges below.
Welcome to the Life to the Full Community!
Episode Two C.O.W. (Ask Better Questions of the Bible)
Step One - Pick a book that was recommended, and buy it online or check it out of your local library. Commit to finishing the book in its entirety. While you are waiting for your book, proceed to step two!
Step Two - Pick a podcast. We recommended the BEMA podcast or the Bible Project Podcast. The Bible Project Podcast picks out major themes in the Bible, while BEMA is currently working its way through the entire bible. Pick one podcast following these guidelines:
A) Bible Project: Pick one topic series to commit too. We suggest either the Heaven and Earth series or the Wisdom series.
Heaven and Earth Series: https://bibleproject.com/podcast/series/heaven-earth-series/
Wisdom Series: https://bibleproject.com/podcast/quest-wisdom/
B) BEMA: Commit and listen to the entire Torah series (session one).
Whatever podcast you pick listen to the series in its entirety at least once before going back and taking notes. This will give you a better appreciation of what they are trying to say.
If you have already read the books we recommend, or listened to these podcasts already, let us know in the comments what you are currently listening to or reading. We are always looking for recommendations too!
Book nerds! Below are this episode's book recommendations. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, then please use these links below.
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