Read the Bible whole book by whole book

    In Christology II class yesterday, I realized something: I am a Biblical Isogesist and not a Biblical Exegesist most of the time. Meaning: I am so prone to focus in on a twig (a single phrase or verse) and assume my personal interpretation of it, rather than stepping back and seeing the dense forest (the context and storyline and purpose of the book) and letting that determine my interpretation. Stephen Venable, the class instructor, is emphasizing again and again, “Don’t bring your preconceived ideas and mindsets to the bible text and try to fit it in, but let the word wreck havoc in your mind and let it define you.” (my paraphrase)

Part of the problem why we misinterpret the bible so much is because we read it wrong. We read a chapter or verse here and there and we may really like what we read, but the fundamental problem lies right here: We aren’t reading the whole book (like Genesis or 1 Peter…etc.) as it was meant to be read. It was meant to be read all the way through in one sitting. Yes, they may be long, but I ask you this question: When is the last time you’ve done a hard thing? Our generation (I may be speaking to mostly teenagers here) and this includes me, has embraced a lifestyle of lethargy and ease, instead of stepping out of our shells and actually doing hard things. We love the unchallenging and undemanding lifestyle, when in fact we were created to embrace the challenge and climb the mountain. I would say “Christology II” is a mountain for me. But will I “check out” and try to make it as easy as I can make it? or will I jump in wholeheartedly, in prayer and dependence on God, and in the full capacity of my brain power and seek out the knowledge of Christ in this class? I wasn’t made live forever on baby’s milk and Gerber’s food. I was made to grow up into Christ, and chew and devour His word. Sorry for the bunny trail. Check out this series for more on this topic.

So, how am I going to become an exegisist? First, I’m going to start reading the bible as a whole and not as chapters and verses (those were added later, David Pawson wishes they were never added). And second, I will be using this book as a healthy guide:

David Pawson’s “Unlocking the Bible” book. It’s an overview of the whole bible with a strong emphasis on context and purpose of each biblical book.

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One thought on “Read the Bible whole book by whole book

  1. This idea of book by book reading it right on! Your paraphrase of your instructor’s comments are excellent! The Bible isn’t a collection of small scriptures that we get to put together however we want. Really good stuff!

    If I might suggest a helpful tool, reading the Bible book by book as opposed to verse by verse or chapter by chapter is a whole lot easier in a Bible with the chapter and verse numbers removed. Check out http://www.thebooksofthebible.info for a Bible that is set up to be read just as you say, book by book.

    (PS: If you’re wondering how I found your nearly two year old post, it was one of the automatically generated “Possibly Related” articles at the bottom of another blog. I’m glad I clicked!)

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