When I lead Bible study, one thing I try to do is allow people to see biblical stories themselves. To do so, I’ll often ask groups to go through the five Ws of journalism, minus one. Before we dig deep, it’s important to know the basics of Who, What, When and Where. Know who is in the picture and what they are doing. Quite often, the when and where adds much to the story as you learn more from it.
I’ve sensed some people think that’s too basic. That’s how we read the newspaper.
Well, that’s okay. You read news articles to learn or stories to wonder. In some ways, you can read scripture the same way. That’s why I cut out the last W at first. If I don’t, Christians who have heard a passage before want to jump straight to the Why. I’ve found that if we hold off on the why for a bit, the Holy Spirit helps us see more of the old, old story of Jesus and his love.
We tend to quickly over spiritualize or moralize what we read in the Bible. If you’re not careful, doing so can make scripture no more than holy fortune cookie messages in a bottle.
For example, Jesus never really tells his disciples why they should love their enemies. At least not more to say that you’re a child of God, that’s why! And why should we do good to those who hate us? Pray for those who abuse us? Turn the other cheek? Truthfully, sometimes, the only reason why we would is because Jesus told us to.
To be sure, there are whys to be answered in scripture. Plenty of them that help us understand the Bible and make sense of our walk with Jesus today. All I’m asking you to do is take your time getting there. Let the story be how God speaks to you. Don’t assume you already know the whys because God might be trying to reveal something new to your heart.