Reading the Bible Deep AND Wide

All my bible readers out there, don’t you love it when you find a powerful passage that you can chew on for weeks?  Or how about when you find a verse that is jam packed with a bunch of goodies for you to chew on for a hot minute? We love a good passage or verse that we can dissect and dig into.  In fact, many have grown accustomed to digging real deep into passages. We can read, study, and meditate on the same passage for over months at a time, shoveling out all kinds of bible bits for us to eat.

I think the practice of digging deep into biblical text is a great thing, but it can be dangerous in and of itself.  Our culture loves to take an individual verse and chew on it, but hardly are we challenged to see how the verse fits in context with the passage, and how the passage fits in context with the biblical book, and how the biblical book fits in context with the entire biblical narrative.

May I suggest that we need to read both deep and wide. I believe we actually should read the bible not only in quality, but in quanity too. Discover and read the gospel of Luke in just one or two sittings and see what it was that Luke was trying to say about Jesus. What was the unique portrait of Jesus that Luke paints for us, and what are the specific themes of his gospel? What happens when we begin to read teh bible as a great meta-narrative, as the greatest story ever told, and then allow everything we read to fall in context with that great story.  Is the story taking place before or after the fall? Is it before or after Christ? And does it matter and change its implications for our lives?

Freestyle with me folks, has your Christian community encouraged you to read both deep and wide?

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3 comments

  1. Craig · February 8, 2010

    Very well said Dru.

  2. DR · February 8, 2010

    Pastor,
    I’ve have something that has bothered me for most of my life and truthfully, I only just realized what causes it.
    Your post here has touched it somewhat.
    I always thought that people who go on retreats and seminars or read and study the scriptures did so to better themselves in a good and healthy way.
    But I was wrong…
    Some people do so for other reasons. Two of which are:

    #1- Use it to inforce their ability and resolve to be sociopathic and generally hurtful to others (I give you the churchgoing slaveholders and abortionists)

    #2- Use it to enforce and perfect their ability to be a better victim.

  3. Andrea · February 8, 2010

    I believe that my church taught me to read the Bible both deep and wide. In fact, they taught the congregation to read so deep and wide that there were often disagreements within the church as to what a passage, book or overarching message meant. And this, in my opinion, is a very good thing! I think reading the Bible deep and wide, considering it in a multitude of contexts, forces the reader to confront the complexity that is life and the Biblical narrative. Reading in such a way, with an open and honest heart and mind, of course, strengthens the individual and the church community, even as it causes disagreement and debate.

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