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Head, Heart and Hands

How do you read the bible?  I'm not talking about how frequently or otherwise. 

Do you read it
  • out of a sense of obligation?
  • to try and understand it in its historical, cultural, linguistic, and specific context?
  • as a document you try to master?
  • as a document to let God shape you?
  • quickly or slowly?
  • in different ways at different times?
When you come to a passage of scripture, I would like to suggest you keep these three words in mind, you might in fact like to read the passage through once for each purpose:

  • HEAD - Read to try and understand the passage in its context - who was it by, who was it to, what is it about.  How does it fit into the overall structure of the bible from creation, through the crisis of the fall, God's response in the covenant with Abraham and his descendants culminating in the life, death and resurrection of Christ and then looking forward to the New Creation.
  • HEART - Read it and let God speak to you.  He may highlight a word or phrase, an aspect of His character or of your new identity as a follower of Jesus.  This is best done by reading slowly and meditatively not being afraid to stop at a word or phrase and stay with it - with no pressure to finish the passage.
  • HANDS - Read it and based on the HEAD and the HEART readings reflect on what you can immediately apply to your life now.  Make a specific plan about when you are going to do it.  Dare to ask someone to help you be accountable to that.
Most of us will be able to understand most of the bible with a careful and thoughtful reading.  But if there are passages that you find tricky - phone a friend, check out online bible commentaries/articles/sermons, or send me an email.

No prizes for anyone who may have picked up three dimensions in this post.

David Wanstall, 10/12/2008