These seminars explore how we can begin to think about reading the Bible:
Session 1: Beginning the Interpretive Journey
Why is the Bible such a difficult book to read? And how should we approach some of the challenges that it poses? This first session looks at the journey we go on when interpreting Scripture, and the tools that can help us navigate from the original context to applying it in our world.
Session 2: Crossing the Bridge
It’s one thing to know what Scripture meant to the original hearers, but how can we work out what it might mean to us? In this session we will consider how we can bridge the gaps of time, geography, language and culture, to discover the relevance of God’s word in our world.
Session 3: Reading the Old Testament
For many people, the Old Testament is particularly confusing, since the gap between the original events and our context is so vast. In this session we look at an extra step in the interpretive journey, and explore some principles for to interpret Old Testament Narratives. (Please note, due to a technical failure, part of this recording is missing, but hopefully the handouts will fill in some of the gaps).
Session 4: From Principle to Application
We’ve considered how to understand the meaning of a text to its original hearers, and how to determine the principles that help connect it to our world, but until we work out how to apply the text in our world, the journey is incomplete. This final session looks at how to move from principle to application.
A lot of the material from these sessions has been adapted from two books, which I would highly recommend:
- How to Read the Bible for all its Worth – Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart
- Grasping God’s Word – J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays
Choosing a good commentary can be tricky, but bestcommentaries.com is a great place to look for reviews and recommendations. If you want to study a book in depth you may want to choose a selection of commentaries; some technical and some more devotional. But if you want to read in a devotional way, then a lighter, less technical commentary might be best. Here are some general recommendations:
- The Tyndale and Bible Speaks Today series is generally reliable and fairly accessible, though not as in depth as you may like.
- The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (NICOT) and New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT) series are more in depth, but also more technical.
- The Word Biblical Commentary series is very technical. Full of Greek/Hebrew. Only recommended if you want something really detailed!
- The Pillar New Testament Commentary series and Apollos Old Testament Commentary series are great. They are towards the technical end of the spectrum, but strike a good balance between being in-depth and accessible.
- Tom Wright’s For Everyone series are great little commentaries on the New Testament. They are more devotional, and not very in depth, but are great for helping with personal reflection
- Phil Moore’s Straight to the Heart series contains 60 bite-sized reflections. As a result, they don’t cover every passage, but are great for personal reflection.