I listened to (another) fun podcast the other day. This one was an interview with the author of “Saving The Bible From Ourselves.” Which is a treatise on how our itemization of the Bible, with verses and chapters, unwittingly led to our treating it as a self-help database (your ticket to heaven) instead of a living story. Our encyclopedic rendition of the Bible causes us to employ it as a handy toolbox of proof texts, to be picked apart and sifted through, rather than a narrative that we loose ourselves in. A narrative that changes us.
Really, fun stuff.
I wasn’t even too shocked to hear that the onslaught of study Bibles has actually produced the propensity of Christians to skim the Bible, in order to skip to the notes. You know, the good parts. Provided, of course, that they read it at all. The author’s solution? Start reading, and read big. Read the Bible like it’s a story. Begin to understand it in relation to it’s context, it’s story line, not it’s numerals. A good way to do that? Get a Bible that looks like a book. The kind you actually pick up and read.
I know you want one. The fellow over at the Bible Design Blog (♥) traded out his standard Bible for an ESV Reader’s Bible for a month. The results? Not only was it great for reading, but it was even better for studying. Because instead of scanning the text for numbers, he started scanning for content. What was Paul talking about here? Where is he in his argument? Was this before or after he said x, y, or z? The text began to crystallize in his mind as he was forced to think of a verse, not in terms of it’s bar code, but it’s context. I mean, awesome. Let’s go shopping.