ImmerseBeginnings NLT - Page 349



Introducing
I M M E R S E
The Reading Bible
Many people feel discouraged in their Bible reading. The size and scope
(not to mention the tiny fonts and the thin pages) intimidate new and seasoned readers alike, keeping them from diving into and immersing themselves in the word of God. The Bible itself is not the problem; how the Bible
has been presented to readers for generations is.
Our Bibles currently look like reference books—a resource to put on the
shelf and consult only when needed. So we read it like a reference book:
infrequently and in small pieces. But the Bible is a collection of good writings that invite us to good reading—and it’s God’s word! There is an urgent
need today for Christians to know the word of God, and the best way to do
so is by reading the Bible. However, we need to understand the Bible on
its own terms. We need to become deeply acquainted with whole books
by reading them at length. And we can learn how to read the Bible well by
altering a few of our current Bible reading habits.
First, we need to think about the Bible as a collection of writings written
in various literary forms known as genres. Each literary form, or genre, used
in the Bible—such as a poem, story, or letter—was chosen because, along
with the words, it works to communicate truths about God to real people.
(See “The Literary Forms of the Bible,” p. 341, for a further explanation
of some of these genres.) A complete book can be composed in a single
genre, or the author may use several genres to tell one story. And even
when books of the Bible are made up of several different compositions, as
in the book of Psalms, those components are drawn together in such a way
as to give each book an overall unity as a distinct work in itself.
Second, recognizing that the Bible is made up of whole books that tell a
complete story, we should seek to understand the Bible’s teaching and live
out its story. To help readers better understand and read the Bible as whole
books, we’ve removed any additives from the Bible text. Those additions,
while inserted with good intentions, have accumulated over the centuries,
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