Reading The Bible Better - Lesson 1

Orientation to Reading the Bible Better

In this lesson, you will gain valuable insights on how to read the Bible better, guided by George Guthrie, who shares his personal experiences and enjoyment of reading the Bible from a young age. This series will provide you with foundational topics to strengthen your relationship with God and posture toward the Bible, teaching you how to accurately hear the message of scripture, read for personal transformation, view the Bible as a grand story, and engage in reading the Bible in community. Throughout the process, you will experience a sense of joy and wonder as you discover the transformative power of God's words in your life.
George Guthrie
Reading The Bible Better
Lesson 1
Watching Now
Orientation to Reading the Bible Better

I. Introduction to Reading the Bible Better

A. Purpose and Goals of the Course

B. Importance of Contextual Reading

II. Approaches to Reading the Bible

A. Literal Reading

B. Historical-Critical Reading

C. Devotional Reading

III. Strategies for Better Bible Reading

A. Understanding Genre

B. Paying Attention to Context

C. Recognizing Figurative Language

IV. Tips for Application and Transformation

A. Applying the Text to Life

B. Allowing the Text to Transform Us

  • Dive into this lesson to gain a deep understanding of how to read the Bible better, focusing on hearing scripture accurately, personal transformation, the grand story, and reading in community, while fostering a sense of joy and wonder in your journey.
  • Discover the power of words, their impact on our lives, and how God's words and communication in the Bible provide guidance, shaping us to live with purpose and spiritual growth.
  • Being receptive to what God is saying to you in the Bible is an important part of reading the Bible better. The parable of the sower gives you a word picture of obstacles you face in attempting to cultivate a receptive heart.
  • By embracing receptivity, you can overcome barriers and enhance your understanding of the Bible, ultimately leading to personal growth, stronger relationships, and deepened faith.
  • In this lesson, you learn about literary context's importance in interpreting the Bible, identifying literary genres and structures, and applying context for accurate exegesis and application.
  • By understanding historical context, you can better interpret the Bible, considering cultural, social, and geographical backgrounds, ancient literary genres, and archaeology to bridge the gap between the past and present.
  • This lesson provides you with knowledge on the importance of Bible translations, their types, and the criteria for selecting the most suitable one for your needs while also offering insights into their historical development.
  • You will learn to identify and interpret various biblical genres, enhancing your understanding of the Bible and applying its teachings more effectively in your life.
  • By entering the story when reading the Bible, you enrich your understanding, connect with biblical characters, and foster personal spiritual growth, Bible study, and teaching skills.
  • In this lesson, you gain insights into biblical interpretation principles, like context and genre, and explore essential tools such as translations and commentaries, leading to better understanding and application of the Bible.
You and I need to embrace the powerful, beautiful, life-giving words of God on a regular basis. Various surveys in different cultures, over the past half century, have determined that the number one predictor of a person’s spiritual health is the regular practice of personal Bible reading. Nothing else comes close. If our purpose in life is to live for him and to his glory, and the Scriptures shape us for his mission, then God’s Word provides us with a means to that very desirable end. Everything else in our lives is shaped by whether or not we are living out of a life grounded in the Word of God, the Bible. We need to read it and read it better than we ever have before, so that we can live it well. As we thrive in the Word of God, knowing and living the Scriptures, we have the opportunity to walk with the God of the universe. So you are invited to walk with me as we figure out how to read better this amazing book we call “the Bible.” Perhaps you have tried reading the Bible before and the experience wasn’t that great. I am here to help. There is no more important task in life than hearing from God and trusting him on the basis of his Word.

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Dr. George Guthrie
Reading The Bible Better
Orientation to Reading the Bible Better
Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] Welcome to reading the Bible Better, a video series produced by BiblicalTraining. My name is George Guthrie and I'm excited about us working through this series together. A few weeks ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to go to Alaska and we had a fantastic time there, visiting with friends, going out to a fjord, fishing on the rivers. And one day I got to go out with a guide to a wonderful stretch of water called Quartz Creek. Now, I don't normally use a guide when I go fishing, but this was brand new territory for me. I was able to learn from the guide about the geography of this area. We talked about dangers on this creek, including stepping off into deep holes or even bears that were going to be on the river. At one point there was a mudslide upriver so that the river where we were became kind of chalky and we couldn't see where we were stepping and the fish could not see our bait. So the guide knew where to go on the river to find clear water. He was very, very helpful in giving me techniques and training in different kinds of fly fishing on that river. And especially he communicated with me the joy of fishing, that particular piece of water. [00:01:21][80.7]

[00:01:22] Now, when you're starting out reading the Bible, it's really helpful to have some guidance. And so what we're going to try to do in this series is discuss topics that will give you a foundation in your own relationship with God and posture toward God and the Bible to help you read more effectively. We're going to talk about how to hear the message of scripture accurately. We're going to discuss how to read for personal transformation and not just information. We're going to look at the Bible as a grand story and discuss how can we get drawn into that story so that we see it as a part of our own story as we are living on mission for God in the world. And we're also going to discuss reading the Bible in community with other people. So we're going to have a good time really kind of working our way through a lot of very practical stuff as well as some heart issues as we get started in reading the Bible. But the main thing is I want you to get a sense of joy and wonder about reading these words that God has put into the world to have an amazing effect in our lives. [00:02:35][73.1]

[00:02:36] I love reading the Bible. I started reading the Bible when I was very, very young. My parents put a big red Bible story book out in the middle of the living room floor, and I would go and look at the pictures even before I could read. I remember a picture of David and Goliath, for instance, in that Bible story book. And I still love reading the Bible because it comforts me. It gives me encouragement. It gives me perspective in this crazy world in which we live. It gives me hope and direction when I need help in how to live more effectively in this world. Now, something that might help as you're kind of working your way through this series is I have a little book called A Short Guide to Reading the Bible, which is published by B and H Publishers, and the guide in the video series kind of work together. They complement one another. There are things in this video series that I don't cover in the book, but there are also parts of the book that give more details that fill out things that you will find in this series. [00:03:47][71.0]

[00:03:49] The book also has small group discussion questions at the end of each chapter, which will be a little bit different from the discussion questions that you'll get in some of the material provided by BiblicalTraining. So take a look at that book. You might want to read it before you go through the series or after you go through the series. It will give you a chance to make notes in the margins and underline things, quotations that you want to be sure to get. But really work with the two together to kind of help them feel one another out. So sit back, get ready to take notes as we learn to read the Bible better.