Sunday, January 2, 2011

Resolved: To Read the Bible More Simply

I have made one resolution for 2011: To read the bible more simply. I'd like to read it like a child.

I still desire to understand the great truths of scripture. My hope is that by the end of 2011 I will also have a better understanding of the depths of the bible.

What I'm referring to in this post is the danger of not reading scripture for what it simply says but rather for what we think might lie behind the words on the page. An example of what I'm talking about can be found in John chapter 13:13-17. After Jesus washes His disciples' feet, He says, "You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."

My tendency in the past has been to read this passage and then try to determine the principle behind it. I've always come to the conclusion that this is an example of servanthood. I'd then think about how I can serve others. What I didn't do was actually do what the passage says - wash others' feet.

My desire this year is to read a passage like the one above and understand it simply. My hope is to come to a conclusion something like this, "Jesus washed feet as an example to us. Therefore, I should also wash feet as an act of service." Of course, it's also appropriate to ask about the broader principle of serving others. I just don't want to miss out on the simple, straightforward meaning.

What I'm not going to do is walk around randomly asking people if they need their feet washed. However, if the opportunity presents itself I'm going to take it. We'll probably do this as a church family sometime.

I have absolutely no desire to engage in the discussion of whether or not foot washing is a third ordinance of the church. I'm tired of arguments that amount to little good. Rather, I simply want to be obedient to the words of our Lord Jesus.

I'm resolved to read differently. My hope and prayer is that this leads to a fuller, more meaningful, more profound, and more accurate understanding of the bible.

May the attempt honor Christ. It will only happen through His grace.


Aussie John said...


Some time back I sought the same. I found it very difficult to remove the theological/denominational filters I had developed over a long period. To clear my mind I had to prayerfully stop reading for a time.

Eric said...


Those filters are the problem. I'm gradually working through it but, as you know, it is not easy. Paradigm shifts are a challenge.