Most of us believe that we should read the Bible, but statistics show that Christians are having a hard time doing so. We have questions about where to start, as well as questions about how it was put together, how it can be God’s word, how to interpret it, and more.
Dr. Michael Bird wants to help. In his latest book, Seven Things I Wish Christians Knew about the Bible, Dr. Bird helps us understand what the Bible is, how it came to be, and how we can learn to appreciate it on its own terms.
- Preventive pastoral care can help us deal with questions about the Bible.
- The Bible is not a collection of memorable quotes. It’s a literary document written over centuries that must be understood on its own terms.
- We can easily misuse Scripture by turning into devotional wisdom or a timeless piece of dogma, or by not being aware of other presuppositions we bring as we read it. We must learn to read it on its own terms.
- Wrestling with Scripture is not a sign of disloyalty. It’s a sign that we’re taking it seriously.
- The Bible is a book of hope that communicates God’s love for the world.
- We can learn how to interpret Scripture by how the apostles interpreted Scripture, finding coherence in Scripture in light of Jesus.
- No matter how long we read Scripture, we will continue to discover new things.
- Read Scripture widely, but really get to know a particular section of Scripture.
- To read the Bible, start with a simple plan and a good study Bible.
- Pastors must learn the issues that people are facing, and show what it looks like to read Scripture in light of those issues.
“If people know roughly these seven things, they’re more likely to have greater confidence in the Bible and to be less flustered when they come across something that sounds a little bit weird or they’re not too sure how to explain it.”
“Maybe, just maybe the post World War II consumerist, hyper-individualistic religious culture that you live in is not normal or hasn’t been around everywhere in the world. And in fact, you’re the person who’s got the odd view because you’re somewhat new on the scene.”
“Having a little bit of occasional skepticism is actually the sign of an inquiring faith, a faith that wants to grow and engage and wrestle with God. It’s not a sign of weakness and it’s certainly not an attack.”
“The Bible, irrespective of what people may think about it, pro and con, has had the biggest effect on Western civilization and it’s the basis to be perfectly frank, for pretty much everything good in Western civilization.”
“I tell students when they hand you that Master of Divinity, I hope you do not believe them because the rest of your life should be spent not mastering the Bible, but hopefully struggling to be mastered by it.”
“I think it’s good for anyone to have one part of Scripture that’s something of a hobby horse. And over a life through your reading, preaching, teaching, studying, you can develop a certain extra expertise in that particular area.”
Download a PDF transcript of this episode.