I am an English Major, and it is something that changed my life and my walk and the way I read the Bible.
Now before I start, let me make a disclaimer. Yes, I’m an English major but I am horrible at grammar and punctuation. I know the basics, but if you ask me why does a comma go here or when do we use a semicolon, I can’t give you a concrete answer.
I am an English major, which means I’ve probably read 100 books in school, analyzed poems galore and wrote thesis more papers than I can count. After I finish school I did not want to read. Through my schooling journey, a few things stood out to me. 1. Stories often have embellishments and different point of view depending on the narrator. 2. Punctuation is not a suggestion. 3 Finally the Bible, in entirely, is not a work that English Major should read (according to society) Only the Chapters of Genesis, Psalm, Job, Ecclesiastes (According to SJSU’s English Department Guilt List)
Okay, how did these things change the way I read the bible?
First being told that stories change with the Narrator. It’s pretty common knowledge that if you go on a camping trip with friends everyone will have their own thing that he or she loved and didn’t love. Each person will have their own point of view. When I was in school one topic was that of folk tales. I learned how stories change with each person or each circumstance.
When I related it to the Bible, focusing on the Gospels, I discovered that throughout the Gospels their stories that are told the same way. Now for those who don’t very much about the Gospels, they are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and they all share similar stories. I read these stories, I’m struck with how similar the narrative is. There is no distortion of experience, or point of view. Now my English major brain was told that this would mean that there is truth to these books, It’s not just a folk tale like some people believe. This was ordained by a higher power.
Punctuation is important. I know I started off this blog saying that I’m not good at punctuation, which is true, But I know the importance of it. Imagine if I wrote a sentence like this I went to the beach, the store and… You would get frustrated because there was more to the story. One major pet peeve of mine is during a church service, they will flash a verse on the screen or use it in their service but only go to the comma or semicolon. Only selecting one verse to support their meaning. However, by doing this the context gets lost and distorted.
Kinda like John 3:16, as children I learned just John 3:16, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I read John 3:15, John 3:17. All of these verses are equally important. If we take a verse and only show the part to the comma, something is lost from not knowing the full context of the verse. Then we are giving the new believer a watered down version of the bible that fits our wants and desires.
Reading the Bible in a whole, not just select chapters or books. We need to read the Bible as a whole and not just as select books. I fall victim to this as well, I rarely start at Genesis when I’m reading the Bible and then work my way through the book. I don’t think I’ve read the Bible entirely through, I always seem to skip the smaller prophets and books. I read the books that I love especially when I am going through a hard time. The Bible is a book that needs to be read through entirely to gain the full scope of God’s love and vision for humanity. God is a just God but he is a loving God, he gives second chances and forgives 70 times 7. Just reading select books will give you some of the information but will only give half the picture.
John 3: 13-18
13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[e] 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[g]
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
TTFN and God bless and keep you.