Bible Reading Short Cuts
Last Sunday we read through passages from genesis to revelation that was an attempt to pick out main points of God's big story - the overall story of the bible (download the passages here as a pdf).
But immersing ourselves in the overall story and considering specific passages in the light of the overall story can take time and we can sometimes fall into various short cuts. Scot McKnight has detailed a few short cuts in his book ‘The Blue Parakeet’. Maybe you can identify some of these tendencies from different times in your christian life. You might also like to think about what are some of the problems that each of these shortcuts can lead to.
Shortcut 1: Morsels of Law
The bible is seen as just a massive collection of laws - what to do and not to do.
Shortcut 2: Morsels of Blessings and Promises
This shortcut was made much easier with the addition of verses to the bible in 1551. We read little bits of the bible focusing one sentence promises or descriptions of blessings.
Shortcut 3: Mirrors and Inkblots
This refers to the practice of showing a person an Inkblot and telling a therapist what you see - a butterfly or a witch for example. This gives the therapist information about the person's emotions personality and thought processes. In other words people project what is inside them onto the paper.
Similarly people see and read in the bible what they want to see and read - support for their political views, or ways of doing church or .....etc etc.
Shortcut 4: Puzzling together the pieces to Map God's Mind
Here the bible is like a big puzzle which once a person has got it solved, they don't need to work with the pieces - the job is done forever and a day and they have a complete system of theology. They know what the bible says before they open it because they have already puzzled it together.
A person goes to the bible to find the master and imitate them. Now Jesus is a good choice but some make Paul a Maestro and filter everything Jesus said or did through the book of Romans. And those who make Jesus the maestro can sometimes only ask the question what would Jesus do?
David Wanstall, 31/05/2011