Confusing. Hard to read. Boring. Those are some of the reasons that people give (or think) as for why they do not read the Bible, and it is really true sometimes! It can be difficult and down right obtuse (though not as obtuse as using “obtuse” when you mean “hard to understand”!).
I find that sticking with a passage for a moment after I read it by asking a couple of questions is a huge help. Here are three of my go-to questions:
1. How would I say this in my own words?
This may be the thing I do most often. As simple as it sounds, there is something powerfully revelatory about restating the Biblical text you just finished reading from your own memory. Not only does it help me retain it throughout the day, but I end up having to clarify the meaning when I think “I would never use the term “revelatory”… what is a normal word for what is meant there?”
2. How is this similar to a moment in my life?
I am always trying to challenge myself to try and experience the scripture as if I were there. I want to try and read between the lines and understand the emotions that may not be said but shown. This question is a HUGE help in that area. If I can make a connection to a similar moment or story in my own life, it is like someone cleaned a bunch of mud off the window through which I was seeing the Bible. All of a sudden I can feel what the characters are feeling and understand their responses and actions much better!
3. Is this a good or bad thing?
Though it can feel uncomfortable at first, figuring out whether or not you agree with what is said or done can be a huge breakthrough. I find that sometimes when I am having a hard time reading a passage, it is not because of the passage itself. The reason for my frustration is because I don’t agree and am trying to force myself to agree because it’s the Bible.
Not every action in the Bible (even by the good guys) is meant to be emulated, nor is every premise meant to be applied in the 2000s. So, decide where you think this is a good or bad thing. Then, ask why. Where is the rub? Finally, if you are bothered by your disagreement, call someone you respect and talk about it. You’ll probably both grow closer to God because of it.
For the Comments: What questions do you use?
>>>Read More: Looking for All the Wrong Things in the Bible