Want to understand the Bible? Ride a chariot.

We all read the Bible a little bit differently than our neighbor. We all have our a DNA, a set of experiences and a set of lenses that shape what we see and how we see it. Even with all these unique voices and people, all the conversations I have ever had about the Bible still root back to ancient Greek and even ancient Jewish thought.

We can read the Bible as:

Literal - what the text says is all that it says, there is no underlying meaning. (In poster form)

Allegorical/Typological - connecting the Hebrew testament and the Christian testament. In Christian circles, the most common example is connecting prophecies of one testament with the message and life of Jesus. 

Classic moral and literalist conflict.

Classic moral and literalist conflict.

Moral - what we are supposed to do in light of this story. Traditional children's sermons or lessons for children are moral heavy, but the moral level is not limited to children but is also very prominent in the UMC. 

Anagogical - the text is dealing with the ultimate end of things. It is looking at the text in the long view of time. Seeing trends and overall patterns that might give a sense of how the arc of history is bent. 

The great divides in how Christians read and understand the Bible, for as far as I have see, come back to these layers of meaning. The literalists may conflict with the moralists who conflict with the allegorical people who may disagree with the anagogical readers. In our efforts to argue our views, we often overlook the key to reading the Bible: Humility.  

So I submit to us once again a metaphor that comes to us through the ages. Think of reading the bible like riding in a Quadriga. In Rome a chariot race was a chariot pulled with four horses. Each horse was needed to make it all the way around the course and each horse pulled their share of the weight. Sometimes it was the case that some horses were running faster and pulling more weight during the race, but that does not make the other horses less important. 

When we read the Bible, we ride in a chariot of humility that is pulled with the four horses of interpretation. 

Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/comm...