Reading the Bible via Micro or Macro

Our church is currently undertaking 90 days through the New Testament.  The translation we are using is the Common English Bible, a new translation.

As the church has taken this on, I have been asked what "I think of the CEB translation."

Not ever sure ever how to answer this question, it is clear to me that there seems to be two major tribes of people who read the Bible.  The "Micros" and the "Macros".

The Micros are those who dissect the Bible in such a way that they look at phrases and words that are in the Bible and compare and contrast them to the phrases and words in other translations (or even source material).  Seminaries are great at teaching Micros.  The Western worldview is really big on this sort of thing.  We dissect things and try to reduce, categorize, and understand each little thing.  I was trained in this way of thinking and value it greatly.

Reading the Bible as Micro leads to Bible drills and trivia contests that people raised in the Baptist tradition are well aware of.  Reading the Bible in the style of Micro is helpful and educational.

The problem I have discovered in my own life is Micro reading of the Bible is informational but has not been formational.  Formational reading of the Bible in my life has come by way of the Macro.

Macro reading of the Bible is one that takes the large picture of the Bible.  You may not know the back story of Job but you know the Story of Job.  Macros read the Bible like one would read poetry - cadence and rhythm and flow matter.  Macros love the King James Bible because it is beautiful.  Funerals will have the 23rd Psalm read and it is always the King James Version.  The individual words do not matter as much as the flow and overall feel of the reading.

Much like in school, we judge people on their Micro skills when it comes to "knowing the Bible".  You "know the Bible" when you are able to recall the answers to the questions (sound likes a test to me).  The UMC is in a frantic that people don't "know the Bible".  So we teach the Bible.  We teach by way of Micro.

It is a fallacy to think that giving people more information will change behavior.  Just look at smokers or drinkers who are addicts.  More information does not change behavior.

Micro reading of the Bible will get you better at drills, but it rarely transforms your life.

If you are looking to read the Bible, we may start with a Micro lens, but Christianity is about teaching our Micro-selves to embrace our Macro-selves.