I was reflecting the other day about how I felt more free to enjoy and learn from the Bible these days. I know a good part of that is due to changes in my theological approach to it, but I also realized that growing to see it as a book full of various genres that are all equally important plays a huge role.
Let me explain. It seems that for most of my Christian experience I was around groups that were very into choosing specific verses to apply to things. You had one verse to explain a theological concept, you had one verse to prove an apologetic point, and above all you had one verse that was your favorite or life verse or the one that was really speaking to you at the moment. All the Bible was good, but once you graduated out of grade school anything except the letters of Paul (from which it was easy to grab a verse here and there) wasn't really considered all that important. This was never explicitly stated, just a feeling that seemed to be given. But while I was good to the whole awana style memorizing scattered verses, it never really worked for me the way it seemed to for others.
But over the last few years, I have felt the freedom to move away from the single verse approach to the Bible and start reading it as a whole. Verses don't stand alone, but are part of a larger context and must be seen in that light. Also I have felt the freedom to not just read Paul, but to return to the Gospels and the Old testament. It is there that I really connect and find deep personal meaning. And while I was beginning to appreciate the whole of the Bible, I still felt that I should be connecting best with the letters and their theology. It wasn't until I was at the Emergent Convention this past spring that I really consciously began to think differently. And it was due to a silly mixer game. To reorganize the room our discussion group leaders had us break up into groups according to what part of scripture we connected best with. The listed off various types and pointed to what areas of the room each group would gather in. It forced me to think about it honestly for the first time. I really connect with the old testament narratives - and so do other people - and it okay.
I know this isn't some huge big deal and I am sure most people would think I'm crazy for not thinking about this before.... but it really took to this point for me to be willing to appreciate that how God speaks to me personally is as valid as how he speaks to others. Anyway, like I said these are random thoughts.
Labels: Personal, Theology