Eddie and Sue Arthur

Summer Reading: The Bible Wasn’t Written To You

If you have a Kindle and you are looking for a nice easy, but very thought provoking read about the Bible, you could do far worse than get hold of David (Lingamish) Ker’s book The Bible Wasn’t Written To You. It’s fairly short, it’s very funny in parts and it will certainly make you think about the way in which you read the Bible.

The Kindle book started life as a blog post; here is a quote:

The Bible isn’t a fortune cookie that you can crack open and get out a pithy little message that’s going to help you through the day. Instead it is a collection of books, poems, histories, tragedies and more and if you want to “apply it to your life” you’ve first got to consider how that particular message was meant to apply to someone else’s life. That’s right, the Bible wasn’t written to you. It was written to the people of Israel, and Philemon, and Theophilus and the church at Corinth. But that ain’t you. So you’re reading someone else’s mail. Or listening in on one half of a phone conversation. If you want to apply it to your life, first you’ve got to approach the text carefully, even humbly and ask, “What was the original author saying to the original readers and why?” That’s not an easy question. You won’t be able to answer it in just five minutes of Bible reading a day. You won’t be able to answer that question by jumping from one section of the Bible to the next as you go through your Bible reading plan. Imagine reading the Sunday paper like you read your Bible. Monday you read one paragraph of the front page, then you read one paragraph of the sports section, now jump over to the opinion page and read a paragraph there. That’s all for today. On Tuesday you can continue reading the lead story and find out how the game ended and read some more of the op-ed piece. Is that the way you read the paper? Why not? Because chopping up the Sunday paper like that destroys the message.

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3 Comments on “Summer Reading: The Bible Wasn’t Written To You

  1. Eddie – thanks for the recommendation, I thoroughly enjoyed this (short) read.

    Can you recommend anything else which is accessible to the non-theological student, but which further explores this idea? Over the years I’ve heard a lot of sermons where the preacher tries to “claim” specific OT or Epistle texts for “us”; Jer 29:11 being a classic example, which I’ve heard you raise before (in fact this one is of particular personal annoyance to me!).

    • The classic in this field is How To Read the Bible For All It’s Worth by Fee and Stuart. It really is excellent and not too expensive on Kindle.

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