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Read the Bible Better: Avoid Personal Biases in Bible Study

Here are some thoughts and tips on personal biases in Bible study. If you want to read the Bible better it’s important to be aware of personal bias. This is inspired by a chapter of Dr. Lawson Murray’s best-selling book Bible Engagement Basics. 

 

Being Aware of Our Bias

 

What do you imagine God looks like?

You may think this is a silly question for a Bible-reading blog – but we must be aware of how we think God is like us.

Our president shared a story of attending a graduate course in the USA. He writes:

During the opening session, the professor asked the group of fifty or so students to describe how they pictured God. With few exceptions, God was portrayed as a middle-aged white suburban male (the primary demographic of the students). I learnt that most of us think God is like us.

Here’s why this matters.

What we do with God, we do with the Bible

We tend to project what we want to see or hear onto the Bible. Instead of being caught up in the Bible’s story, we harness the Bible to our story. It’s a predisposition; our natural inclination is ego-centric, and our bent is to manipulate the Bible to our own ends. Simply stated, we read the Bible to get what we want. To read the Bible better, we should be aware of this.

So, how do we read the Bible for what it truly is and not for what we want to make it?

Our natural inclination is ego-centric, and our bent is to manipulate the Bible to our own ends.

 

Three Places To Go For Help Understanding the Bible

Here are three places to go to for help to read the Bible better.

The Holy Spirit

Ask Him to help you understand what you’re reading. To do this, you must slow down, re-read, meditate on passages and pray. Try Lectio Divina (read the post on this)

Bible Commentaries and Guides

Use them to mine the collected wisdom of the church. Many commentaries are available on the internet. Annabel Robinson, the editor of our free Bible reading guide, theStory, highly recommends the Logos Bible Study website.

Our daily Bible reading guides, Daily Bread, Encounter With God, and theStory, provide commentary by experienced Bible teachers. They study the passage and provide reflections to help you better understand and apply God’s Word to your life.

The SU Bible reading guides show the process of unpacking cultural context, genre, writing style and context. You will learn to read the Bible better as you observe how the SU Bible teachers interpret and apply God’s Word to your life.

Find your Bible Reading Guide.

 

Mature Christians

Learn from pastors, teachers, and wise people in the Word. Be intentional in seeking out a mentor – someone to disciple you. Join a small group – these are often groups of people who are mature (or seeking to be mature) in faith.

Scott McKnight, in his excellent book, The Blue Parakeet, would add that if we are to read the Bible in a way that is renewing and ever-renewing, then we should also read the Bible as the story, learn to listen to and for God in the Bible (cf. Matthew 7:24-27), and discern how best to live out the Gospel (cf. Colossians 1:9-10).

 

 

If you want to read the Bible better, there are many resources available. Be intentional and get started today! 

 

Related Posts: Saving the Bible From OurselvesReading the Bible in Context4 Ways a Bible Reading Guide Will Help You

 

 

© Scripture Union Canada, 2021

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