I have definitely earned my brownie points for Bible reading.
In fact, throughout my many years of following Christ, growing up in a pastor's home, relishing my "Jesus freakness", and serving as staff for large "mega" churches, there is no doubt that I've read the Bible more than any other book. (Calvin & Hobbes doesn't really count as a book, does it? Naw. I think I'm good.)
Yes, I can definitely say I've had the scripture part down pat. I mean, that's what we do as Christians, right? Read the Bible. Check.
However, beginning about five years ago reading is just not enough.
What began as a quiet stir in my gut, has become a raging onslaught of shifting, course-correcting, self-eroding transformation in my soul, spirit, mind, and body. Slowly I'm ditching the traditional views I was fed, stretching my spiritual wings and seeking out Jesus via scripture alone, unencumbered by preconceived ideas or inherited interpretations. While I've always had a highly intimate prayer life with my Creator, my relationship took a fresh turn as I began hungering to go beyond reading... to understanding. Oooohhh. What a concept.
So in my new pursuit of understanding scripture, I've found myself shifting from one method of Bible study to another. Sometimes I've scoured entire passages. Other times I've researched a topic or phrase. However, if I were to speak honestly, at times my study was driven by my desire to validate my thoughts through scripture, rather than to allow scripture to transform my mind.
And this, my friends, is where you come galloping in.
As a "recovering" Christian from a highly legalistic background, I'm currently in the midst of a quandary of sorts. I'm studying out a topic that seems to be ambiguous, partly because it is only mentioned once in the entire Bible. However, due to the serious context and writing surrounding the passage, determining if the instruction is cultural, required by all, or merely an account of what happened, can be tricky.
So I'm curious... how do you study the Bible? What guidelines do you use for interpreting and applying God's word to your life? What are your personal hermeneutics?
For more detail, discussion, query, discovery, and general mayhem on this issue, pop over and visit me at - www.ellenstevens.com.