I read the Bible often
I try to read it right
As far as I can understand
It’s nothing but a burning light
[Blind Willie Johnson, Soul of a Man from Bruce Cockburn’s Nothing But A Burning Light, Golden Mountain Music Corp., Sony Music, Inc/Columbia Records, 1991]
A lot of time and effort is spent by seminary professors trying to teach their students how to read the Bible right. Historical/Critical, Literary, and Socio-Political are just a few ways to interpret scripture. Generations of students compare different versions, studying texts in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. But how do they read it right?
I’ve heard excellent, intriguing lectures that explain many things about complex texts. I’ve listened to blatantly biased interpretations used to justify opinions and situations that the Biblical writers never encountered, much less wrote about. I’ve heard Sunday sermons do the same.
Just like the lyrics say, I read the Bible and do my best to read it right. If I’m reading chapter and verse to justify myself or judge another, I’m treating sacred words like the family silver service – sorting it, shining it, and stuffing it in a drawer to be used at my convenience and need. I don’t think it was ever meant to be read likethat.
Blind Willie had it right: if I’m reading it right, it’s nothing but the burning light that reveals me, angels and neighbors, and the sacred path we walk together upon God’s green earth.
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