implications for reading and using the Bible


Read back to front and front to back.

It means rereading any text in light of the end of the story–the coming of the kingdom in Jesus Christ. The end of the story forces you to see earlier parts in a new light. Details matter. Think about an accident scene investigation. The end of the story is clear; the debris lies on the road to prove it. Go back to the future. The end of the story only makes sense in light of what has come before. “Bidirectional reading” does justice to the unity and diversity of Scripture.

Bigger Bible, richer ministry.

Knowing that all parts of the Bible make unique contribution to the whole give us the courage and motivation to read and apply the Scriptures widely and deeply.

The centrality of God’s mission.

Seeing the Bible as a unified story of God’s redemptive mission helps us avoid introspective, individualistic application.

Bidirectional living.

No matter where you are in Scripture, you should feel the inexorable pull forward to where history will end up. The Bible shows us that we cannot live as mere “present tense” Christians. Our present moments are framed by God’s past acts of redemption and by the glorious future he has planned.

Interpretation and application are a community affair.

Scripture addresses communities with few exceptions [3 John, Philemon]. The Bible is God’s story and our story before it is really my story.

Adapted from the book, CrossTalk: Where Life & Scripture Meet, Michael R. Emlet. New Growth Press, Greensboro, NC. 2009. 53-62.

Read the Introduction and Chapter 1 (PDF)

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