I grew up in a culture that rarely read the Bible in context. Instead we pieced together ideas by taking a text from here and a text from there. Unfortunately this often leads one to believe they know much about the Bible when they do not. It is most beneficial to sit down and just read without trying to find texts to support ideas we already have. But just read and wonderful things will happen. The Holy Spirit will paint pictures in our minds of things past and things to come. They will be fresh pictures unlike our preconceived concepts of what is supposed to be there.
Try the Gospel of Mark. It was the first one written. Try not to approach the text with an “I already know these stories” attitude. Try to read them as if you did not know and were reading them for the first time. An average reader can read Mark in about an hour. That is if one can keep reading. My problem is my mind wants to fill in details of the story which slows me down. That’s okay. Smelling the leper in chapter one, listening to Jesus voice, seeing the hungry multitudes crowding Him is an enlightening experience.
In chapter two Jesus tells us to put new wine into new wineskins. Don’t try to stuff what you are reading into your old wineskin (frame of reference). Let the Holy Spirit give you a whole new wineskin for your new insight. (You will have a new perspective.) Reading Scripture is unlike reading any other book. It is not merely the thoughts of wise men. It is God’s Word for our time. It is for all times. The Holy Spirit will make us more intelligent. And who does not want to be smarter?
Written by Roger Bothwell on December 19, 2014
Spring of Life, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574