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How should read the Bible?

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There 2 basic ways to look at the content¹.

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For more use the DOOR.

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   First, let me divert to the C. S. Lewis’s Narnia Chronicles, 7 books about a child’s fantasy about visiting another that has many parallels to the message of the Bible.

   The series begins with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the trip of four children (and the return) into another fallen world. Problems of sin and character are dealt with in this world, as Aslan the Great Lion dies and rises again and paying for evil one child did and thereby breaking a witch’s spell.

   The tales continue the story (which we recommend) for 6 more volumes.

   But how did Narnia come about? one begins to ask. This is addressed–finally–in The Magician’s Nephew (Book 6).

   Once Lewis was asked, Which book should a person read first? He said Book 6, because that’s where things start.

   I disagree. Start with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I want to see things happen–first.

   If I was starting out cold in the series, I would care little for a strange place called “Narnia.” In fact, the book itself has a hard time to get going. (Sorry, C. S.) But it is a logical place to begin the series.

   Now I’m going to make an awkward comparison.

  As to content of the Bible.

   Where should one start? There are two basic choices, and each has strengths and weaknesses²–as you’ll quickly see.

  First, realize that the Bible is a book that was written by at least 40 people many hundreds of years ago. It is not conveniently organized for the first-time reader.

   Choice 1:  Start at page 1 in go through it to the end. (Collect some organizing helps and talk to those who’ve done this before.)

   Choice 2:  Begin with the New Testament and the book of Matthew. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the central figure looked forward to in the Old Testament and described in the first books of the New Testament. After the 4 Gospels in the NT the early church is described.

   I suggest if you’re new to all this, pick Choice 2. Doing so is actually applying a literary technique called in medias res which means starting a story “in the middle of things.” Novels and movies use this devise often. We see things happen and then begin to wonder about what happened earlier.

  Choice 2 introduces the action. The Old Testament, of course, has plenty of action…and it still matters for many, many reasons.

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   ¹ Much is not considered below! This is simply and overview of content, seen from a Christian point of view.

   ² For example, prophecies that point to a coming Messiah…which are fulfilled, often in unexpected ways…paint a strong picture of Jesus that one can miss by starting with the New Testament.