Reading the Bible professionally.

I like to help people think about reading the Bible. I like to offer suggestions about different ways we can approach the text.

I was thinking recently that God may use some of ways of thinking and the life experiences we’ve walked through to help us read the Bible in ways that are different than other people. Not to discover things that have been hidden for millennia and are now suddenly clear. Not in creepy ways like that. But ways that illuminate the text.

For example, Peter was with Jesus. Jesus invited Peter to become a “fisher of men.” Was it just an easy turn of phrase? Or was there something about how Peter fished that shaped how he went about his ministry after that?

Awhile back Philip Keller wrote “A Shepherd looks at Psalm 23.”  He took his agricultural training and looked at a psalm that talks about sheep and shepherds.

I wanted to take that idea into some other passages.

1023011819.jpgFor example, imagine a documentary filmmaker telling a person’s story. You may have decades of material, interviews with friends and family and people who were influenced by the person. You followed up on leads, you verified what other people had told. And then you put together a story which was roughly chronological, but was designed to help viewer understand the story.

This is exactly what Luke did. So wouldn’t it be intriguing for a documentary film producer to look at Luke, to explain to us why the choices that Luke made make sense, why some of the choices seem less like a film maker and more like a physician, and why this approach may differ from other approaches, like that of a close friend.

Or, for example,  imagine being a brain surgeon. If you are curious, you have wondered how the brain works, how behaviors and habits and attitudes and nutrition and ethnicity and socioeconomic status affect the brain. What would happen if a person with that training read the book of Daniel. Not so much for the prophecy, but for the story of Daniel himself. What would his habits, his nutrition, his commitments tell a brain surgeon? What could that person tell us?

Or imagine a teacher, a student of child psychology. This is a person who has understanding of how to teach important principles, how to make ideas stick. What would happen if this person read Deuteronomy?

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If you’ve got 3-4 minutes, I’ve got three quick questions (It’s a short survey. I’d appreciate your help.)

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.