How to Read the Bible: The Reading

And finally we get to try out our new toys.  We’ve spent the past few weeks talking about the classic understanding of the four senses of Scripture: literal, allegorical, moral, and anagogical.  We have explored the promise and the peril of each and looked at some new reading strategies that might open up the text, find the life that beckons from within.  This week, we will try out those reading strategies.

We’re going to focus on the book of Jonah.  I’m choosing this for a few reasons.  First, it is familiar enough that people know it, but maybe so familiar that we have smoothed over some details.  So there may be some surprises.  Second, it is short.  We will read the whole thing on Sunday.  Third, it was a very important text for early Christians.  I think we now regard it as a children’s story, though we simplify it, similar to the way we treat the story of Noah’s Ark.  It will be good to rediscover it.  And, finally, it is ripe for the reading in all four senses as well as many of the alternative reading strategies we have discussed.  There are questions of literal truth, moral guidance, and allegories abound to tell us about God, about ourselves, and what we might hope for.

I don’t often give you advance notice what we’ll be looking at, so I hope you’ll take this rare opportunity to read ahead.  Also, please bring your Bibles.  Lots of versions would be great.  (Fair warning: we will be reading the NRSV rather than the Inclusive precisely because it does not try to smooth out problems.)  If you have commentaries or Bible dictionaries, consult them.  Bring them.  Whatever you think might help our reading.  But most of all bring yourself – completely.

Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center as we read an ancient story with post-modern eyes.  Come early for snacks and coffee.

Grace and Peace,
Scott

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