3: Ways We Read the Bible

In this podcast John and I discuss how the Bible can be read from a devotional perspective and from an academic perspective, and that both have advantages and disadvantages.  This led into a discussion of how he and I should reconcile the fact that we have taken a dimmer view of Kyle Idleman’s Not a Fan than other readers.

How can so many people have found the book transformative yet we found it problematic on many levels?

My view was that, while our experiences are valuable and informative, we need to examine how we interpret those experiences and the conclusions that we draw from them.  Further, where this transformation is based on biblical understandings we need to gauge the validity of these understandings against the biblical text.

4 thoughts on “3: Ways We Read the Bible

  1. Pingback: 16: Experience, Motives, and Agenda--Listener Feedback

  2. Charlie Simpson

    I think it is an interesting point that you make that we all bring our own agendas to our reading and interpretation of the Bible. It reminds me of quote that I heard about Walt Hendrickson (one of the leaders in Navigators) who has asked when his motives were pure. His response: “I have never had a pure motive in my life”. I think there is a fundamental truth here that we are all biased.

    1. Gregg Monteith Post author

      Hi Charlie,

      Good observation. I think that you’ve hit on the self-involving nature of Bible reading (and indeed, of human action in general). However, I would want to make two distinctions here. First, I would argue that it is more accurate to describe the matter as you put it–as having an “agenda”–than as not having “pure motives.” So the issue is not the Christian notion of human sinfulness (which needs a bit of clarifying, I think) so much as it is the human reality of “situadedness.” In other words, we are finite beings who relate to our world and our existence through the particularity of our nature and our history. In brief (and yes, I really will be brief this time), the notion of bias and especially prejudice is often given short shrift–it’s seen as the enemy–when in fact (and here’s my second point) prejudice and bias properly understood are integral to human knowing. As such they are, in fact, not flaws to be removed but assets to be understood (and then cultivated). The links to my blog posts should help clarify what I’m meaning.

  3. Pingback: Episode 005: Five Stars or One for Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman?

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