True confession: I was once a professional Bible quizzer.
As a teenager I memorized John 1, 3, 5 and 8; 2 Corinthians 1-10; and all of Ephesians and 1-3 John. Then I memorized the questions that accompanied those verses so I could buzz in early, leaving my competitors in the dust. That’s what true Bible quizzing professionals did, after all.
Looking back I’m thankful for that experience, because it gave me a solid grounding in God’s Word. But I also see how it skewed my view of the Bible. I saw it as a thing to chop up and dissect for knowledge sake. And what verses I did memorize were totally disconnected from the Bible’s larger narrative.
Bible quizzing taught me to memorize verses, it didn’t teach me to read the Bible.
In their book How to Read the Bible Book by Book, Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart expose a similar problem of their generation:
our generation had learned a kind of devotional reading of the Bible that emphasized reading it only in parts and pieces, looking for a “word of the day.” (14)
Like my own reading of Scripture, the downside to this “daily breadcrumb” style of reading is that it teaches people “to read the texts in a way that disconnected them from the grand story of the Bible.” (14)
Twelve years ago their book sought to rectify this problem by showing how the various books of the Bible fit into God’s story.
Because after all, that’s what the Bible is, a story—God's story. And in order to read the Bible well, this is how it should be read.
Here are 3 reasons why and an example to illustrate: