Thursday, March 22, 2012

How to Read the Old Testament

I LOVE this post by Dane Ortlund about reading the Old Testament. Check it out here.

Here's a glimpse:
What are other ways we might read the Bible?

  • The Gold Mine Approach – reading the Bible as a vast, cavernous, dark mine, in which one occasionally stumbles upon a nugget of inspiration. Result: confused reading. 
  • The Hero Approach – reading the Bible as a moral hall of fame that gives us one example after another of heroic spiritual giants to emulate. Result: despairing reading. 
  • The Rules Approach – reading the Bible on the lookout for commands to obey to subtly reinforce a sense of personal superiority. Result: Pharisaical reading. 
  • The Artifact Approach – reading the Bible as an ancient document about events in the Middle East a few thousand years ago that are irrelevant to my life today. Result: bored reading. 
  • The Guidebook Approach – reading the Bible as a roadmap to tell me where to work, whom to marry, and what shampoo to use. Result: anxious reading. 
  • The Doctrine Approach – reading the Bible as a theological repository to plunder for ammunition for my next theology debate at Starbucks. Result: cold reading. 
 DON’T TURN THE BIBLE INTO SOMETHING IT ISN’T
There is some truth in each of these approaches. But to make any of them the dominant lens is to turn the Bible into a book it was never meant to be. A biblical theology approach takes the Bible on its own terms—namely, that “all the promises of God find their ‘Yes’ in Jesus” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Result: transforming reading. 
Biblical theology invites you to read the Bible by plotting any passage in the overarching narrative that culminates in Christ. The Bible is not mainly commands with stories of grace sprinkled in. It is mainly a story of grace with commands sprinkled in.

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