Two Ways to Read the Bible (Which Way Do You Read?)

Cover of "The Life with God Bible"
Cover of The Life with God Bible
I’ve discovered within myself an ebb and flow with theological questions – sometimes I have some and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I read the Bible to learn about something particular; sometimes I read the Bible just to continue to hear the Story.

Do you relate?

Renovare released a Bible a few years back called the Life With God Bible. Good stuff! In the intro, they write about multiple ways people read the Bible – some to collect information, some just because it’s a duty, some because they’re looking for guidance in life. The authors for this Bible go on to say that the Bible is all about Life with God, the “Immanuel Principle” — a life lived with God who is with us. Scripture, they allude, is all about living and learning to live this kind of life – a life of discipleship and attentiveness to Jesus.

Very neat.

I think we need to hear more about that. I think a lot of Bible readers pick up the book and don’t really know what to look for, what to expect, and even where to start. That is frustrating! And there hasn’t been too much help offered from what I’ve seen. I mean, so many books and classes are really just about collecting a bullet point list of things to believe about God, maybe even a list of things that are wrong or good. It’s like you can get through such a book or class and not really pay attention to God, get to know God for God, but instead you pull away with a few more semi-interesting details about ancient cultures… still hungry for an experience with God (yes, experience).

So here’s the hard part: How do you go about reading the Bible as a dialog between yourself and God instead of reading to collect more information about God? Our brothers and sisters from way back created a habit of this – they called it (in Latin) Lectio Divina, or “holy reading.” Google that.