Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Reading the Bible with Scot McKnight (3)

What is the Bible? Scot answer’s this question in his new book The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible. Scot puts forward the proposal, in chapter 3, that the Bible is story. It has a plot, and a beginning, middle, and end. As readers we need to be drawn into God’s great plot, and to be refreshed and renewed by participating and finding our place in the story ourselves. Getting into the Bible is like going on an interesting adventure. But participation and adventure carry with them a need for rigor, which in turn begins to get tough on our tendencies to take short cuts to achieve our own ends of having the Bible speak to us. As shortcuts in other areas of life, such as getting healthy and losing weight usually fail, so too taking short cuts when reading the Bible will deprive us of the real and living spiritual health we need.

While all short cuts are detrimental for good Bible reading, and there are many that could be mentioned, Scot points out five ways that we reduce the Bible and turn it into:

A collection of laws – no dancing, drinking, or films

A series of blessings and promises – these are fantastic and reliable, but can lead to false optimism – things do go wrong and some days are a catastrophe

A set of mirrors and inkblots – the Bible says what we desire it to and we impose and project ourselves upon it and smother its story replacing it with our own

A mixture of puzzle pieces – we put all the pieces together and have the puzzle completely figured out

A choosing of masters – deciding on a master, such as Paul or Jesus, and then reading the whole Bible through one or the other’s point of view

If short cuts will fail us, what might a long detour for learning to read the Bible as story look like? See the next post.