Especially as we have been working our way through the final chapters of Judges, I have been thinking a lot about why Bible reading is important and what the process might be for how the scriptures change us. The author of Hebrews thought…
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Somehow the word of God is able to perform surgery on us with the precision of a veteran surgeon. It can change us… but how?
There are many tools with super smart-sounding names (like “Hermeneutical Circle” or “Hermeneutical Spiral”), but I have always felt that if someone wanted their ideas to be understood by normal people, then they would use language that we all understand. God communicated in ways that we could understand, when someone dies for you, they love you… even I can get that one; I should strive to do the same!
Therefore I have been trying to think about Bible reading in concepts that we all learned in grade and high-school. Recently I have been considering the Scientific Method. For those of us who need a refresher, a basic understanding revolves around the steps:
- Ask a question.
- Make an educated guess, or hypothesis.
- Make predictions about what would happen if the hypothesis is correct.
- Test the predictions in a way that others can duplicate so that your conclusions can be verified.
- Analyse if the results of the tests supported your predictions and hypothesis.
- Share what you have learned.
- Restate your hypothesis in a better way because of what you have learned.
- Go back to the beginning and do it again in order to get a better understanding of the world around us!
There are a ton of different ways to state this method of information gathering (some 6 steps, some 10), but they all follow this general format. The process a scientist goes through to learn something new or verify something old should put him or her in a position to have their minds changed each time they test a prediction about a hypothesis.
Can we use these ideas when we come to the Bible?
What if we…
- Read a passage of the Bible.
- Considered what it said enough to formulate a question about it.
- Came up with an educated guess, or hypothesis about what the text means.
- Made a prediction about what the passage, and the rest of the Bible, will say when under a microscope.
- Did careful observation of the text to see if our thinking was correct.
- Shared what we saw with other people.
- Restated our original thought in a way that was better supported by scripture.
- And then went back to the beginning so that we could get a better understanding of God, the word of God, ourselves, and His world around us?
If we came to the text and put ourselves in a position to have our minds changed each and every time we read a passage of scripture, we could become a people who would be changed and defined by the word of God! It looks like a bit of works, but don’t worry we have our whole lives, and each other, to go through this process again and again (until Christ returns or death parts us) to practice and allow it to become second nature!