Listen to a brief description or read it below.
We’ve had a Reading the Bible Together class at LakeView Church this fall. It’s nothing complicated. We just get together, read the Bible, and talk about what we’re hearing from God in his Word. We’re practicing reading the Bible together because—let’s be honest—the Bible isn’t the easiest book to sit down and read. It’s massive and not always clear where to start or what to read next. It has many references to ancient places, people, things, events, and rituals that may not be familiar to us today. And while I believe every Christian can read and understand God’s Word through the illumination of the Holy Spirit within them, I also acknowledge that the Bible can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to reading it. So, we practice reading it together, and it’s fun!
Each week in the class, we share a Bible reading hack that will help us read with more understanding. This week’s hack: Poetic Diamonds. I learned this from Dr. Jim Coakley, one of my professors at Moody Theological Seminary.
Explanation: Look for the switch to poetry in a passage of Scripture. In most modern English Bibles, poetry is easily identified by the change in formatting and layout. Authors often use poetry to communicate the emotion of a story or to highlight the main idea of a passage. It’s not 100% foolproof, but it’s often a good indicator of at least one of the main points in the Scripture you’re reading. Note, this hack doesn’t work in books that are all or mostly poetry, like Psalms and Proverbs.
Example: Genesis 1 tells of the first six days of Creation. There have been many arguments among Christians about how to interpret this chapter properly, but the author clearly highlights his main point with a poem in verse 27.
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
So, the main point of Genesis 1 is that of all that God created, humans are unique and special. Humans were made in the image of God. We are not slaves of the gods, as many other ancient religions taught. Nor are we accidents of a blind evolutionary process, as scientists almost universally believe today. We are at the pinnacle of all God’s creation, male and female created together in God’s image. That’s the main point of Genesis 1.
I hope this helps you in your own Bible reading!