How To Read The Bible – Part 4 – The Bible as Jewish Meditation Literaturea
Every culture produces its own set of stories and ways of making sense of the world in which they live. The Bible is also a cultural product. Specifically, it is a product of Ancient Jewish culture particularly Jewish meditation literature. When we read the Bible, we need to read it through that lens also as we try to make sense of it.
So, what does understanding the Bible as Jewish mediation literature contribute to our ability to read the Bible well?
Watch Episode 4 by clicking HERE. Come back after the video to continue reading.
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Here are some takeaways I’d like you to reflect on.
The Bible is God’s Word but it’s also a product of Jewish culture and as such, should be read and understood through the lens provided by knowing that culture.
Specifically, as Jewish meditation literature, we should expect to take our time, to read carefully, and to meditate on what we read because the style of writing is dense and deeply interconnected.
Therefore, when we read, we need to reflect on the meaning of a text in relationship to the larger text in which it’s found. We also need to reflect on how it fits into the story of the Bible as a whole.
Knowing that the Bible is a Jewish cultural product means that we shouldn’t press our own cultural understandings into the text either. Instead, we need to allow the Bible to interpret itself and we must allow the Bible to speak with its own voice to us. If we let it, we’ll find that the Bible begins to interpret us, our culture, and the convictions that we bring to our reading of it.
Practically speaking, this means that we don’t ‘proof-text’ by taking verses and passages out of their context to make a particular point. When we do this, we are imposing meanings on the text which may not be present, and we risk doing an injustice to the Scriptures.
Finally, we must invite the Holy Spirit to partner with us as we read Scripture. If we accept that God is ultimately the author of the Bible then it is not only right that we should ask Him to partner with us as we read it, it is also an incredible privilege to be able to do so.