How a Christian Reads the Bible

How a Christian Reads the Bible November 14, 2011

Sometimes the Bible irritates me. It doesn’t alwayssay what I expect it to say. More to the point, it doesn’t always say what I wantit to say. Take the book of Psalms for example. Frequently the Psalmists saythings I could never say. I want to pull these writers aside and offer a littlefriendly counsel on how they might improve their inspired writing, especiallyon verses like these:

Psalm 7:8   The LORD judges the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according tomy righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me.

Psalm 18:37   I pursued my enemies and overtook them,and did not turn back till they were consumed.

The first sample is too self-confident for myexperience. The second is too vindictive for my conscience. So what do we dowith verses like these? Ignore them? Explain them away? No. We should read themin light of the gospel. Here’s what I mean.

We need to remember that the book of Psalms is part ofwhat the New Testament writers often call “the Law.” That designation doesn’tmean it no longer applies to us. It just means that when we feel convicted orconfused by it, we need to remember how the Law is supposed to function in ourlife, namely, to lead us to Christ.

To say it a different way, all of these verses thatsound so far out of reach for us actually are… and are not. They are outof reach for us in ourselves, but they are not out of reach if we are inChrist. Jesus could actually say these things and mean them. He could honestlytake verses like these on His own lips and talk to God that way!

This is one of the most important insights I’velearned about how to read the Bible. The Bible is a book about Jesus beforeit’s a book about me, and I must read it all through Him. In other words, theright way to read the Bible is with a heart informed and shaped by the gospel,a heart of repentance and faith—repentance for not being like thisand faith that, thankfully, He is.