Tuesday, May 5, 2015

What to do with those eye-glazing passages

Can I be honest about something?  There are parts of the Bible that are not exciting to me.  They are Eye-Glazers, the kind where you are reading the words but the content is coming into your brain like  teacher's voice in Charlie Brown.

There.  I've said it.  And now you can 'fess up to it too.

This past week I preached through one of those EGP (Eye-Glazing Passages) in Nehemiah 3 (you can listen to the sermon here).  Because we, as a church are committed to regularly preaching through books of the Bible, you run across some of these from time to time.  So here are some thoughts, in no particular order of importance or even importance at all...

1.  If it's in there, it's worth reading.  ALL Scripture is inspired by God (2 Tim 3.16).  So read it anyway.

2.  Don't get too down if you're not mining the depths of theology when you read them.  Some of the EGP's are in the Bible because it's information, plain and simple.

3.  But...EGP's often have little insights that are fun little discoveries.  You may be surprised when you slow down and read them.

4.  As crazy as it sounds, you may want to read it more than once.  Or in smaller chunks.  That will help you not get Donut-level glazed, and may help you discover a few things in the text.  For instance, in Nehemiah 3 (which I bet I read 40 times in preparation), I saw...
  • The Tekoites didn't have servant leadership (v.5) but worked harder than most anyway (v.27)
  • The High Priest led the way on getting the project started (v.1)
  • Shallum and his DAUGHTERS helped rebuild a section (v.12).  I'm not sure if they were corn-fed girls from the farm or really good with a chisel or what, but I didn't expect to see daughters listed among the builders (by the way, I didn't see that one until the next to last reading...no kidding).
5.  As always, I read with a pencil in hand.  Marking stuff sometimes helps me make sense or remember this or that.  That's a general principle, but it certainly applies here.  In the case of the Nehemiah 3 EGP, I remembered that I read something about the Tekoites when I hit v.27, so I was able to go find it in v.5.

I won't say the EGP's are easy or that they make for the best devotional material you have ever read.  I will say they're still worth reading, even worth preaching.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

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