How Not to Study the Bible – Prooftexting
September 1, 2010 10 Comments
“The one thing the Bible is not is what it is so often thought to be – a theological outline with proof texts attached.” – Leland Ryken, How to Read the Bible as Literature, 9
How did Christianity end up reading scripture as a list of disjointed and disconnected proof texts? It was developed from a long history of using the Bible for winning theological arguments. Did someone defeat you the last time you talked about the Bible? Well, start searching for that one verse that refutes them and proves your point. Right? That is what many of us learned. But it does not make for healthy Bible study.
The reason we turn to scripture influences and informs the way we read scripture. If we have trained ourselves to open the Bible to win theological debates with others then we learn to proof text so that we can speak. But if we read scripture to find relationship and communion with God then we learn to listen so that God can speak.