Reading the Bible as story – Nancy Swanson

This year, I want to give you some other pictures of what following Jesus looks like. One way will be with some conversations. Here’s some Q/A with Nancy Swanson. You’ve heard me mention her a lot (since we’ve been married for almost 30 years, that would make sense.) Now you can hear her. 

What’s different about how did you’ve started reading the Bible?
After reading Randall Frazee’s The Heart of the Story, I started reading it more as a story. I’m looking at how all the parts fit together in that story. And I’m reading large chunks rather than random passages. Like reading all of 1-2 Samuel. Or the major prophets as a group. Or the minor prophets as a group. I’m reading more intentionally to understand how the pieces fit together. The way the Bible’s put together is not chronological, and we forget that. And I’m letting the Holy Spirit lead rather than just reading a chapter at a time. So sometimes I read part of a chapter, or I read 3. I’m following the story rather than chapter breaks.

How did that change how you looked at the Bible?
Probably a better picture of God speaking rather than just the writers. It’s God’s word, rather than the writers or a Sunday school  teacher or preacher. It’s God telling the story through people he chose to write that story. It’s the things that he saw were the most important for us to know.

What caused you to change? How hard was it?
My conversation with a couple friends challenged me to be more intentional in reading the Bible. I had been reading so I could report that I was reading. That came from a history of people talking about the importance of a quiet time. It’s the difference between ritual and routine. Do you do it because it’s the thing you are obligated to do as a Christian, or because God wants to teach you about himself?

What have you read since you made that shift?
Most of the Old Testament except Psalms and Proverbs. And Hebrews  James, Romans, Mark, John. It turns out that in the last year, I’ve read most of the Bible, but it was about learning, not just to do it.

What have you done with what you’ve been reading?
It’s helped with conversations. I remember where things are, and remember the stories. I can see how they might fit with our conversation. And it’s helped me in sharing verses with a handful of friends and family.