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How do you read the Bible for devotion and formation?

Scot McKnight started an interesting conversation yesterday over at his blog: "When you read the Bible, let’s say for formation primarily, what difference does it make to you to ponder authorship or historical questions?" So far, 80 responses. And it's a good discussion.

I've moved around a bit on this issue in the last few years. Part of me really laments how far too many followers of Jesus know so little about the Bible--both what is in it and its history and formation. How can that be? Also, so much makes so much more sense when we understand the land and people and history in which the stories and words we read take place. Take Jesus, for example. When we spend a little time learning about the culture and history in which he walked, his words and actions not only deepen in their historical context but also in timelessness. The truth grows richer and bursts the boxes and containers we thought could hold it. Beautiful.

On the other hand, God seems to be one who grows us with what we know. If we act on and walk with what we know here-and-now, we wake up like the person who scattered seed on the ground and the woke in the morning to find it had sprouted during the night. That's how the Kingdom of God works. And that's just as beautiful and amazing.

I suppose the pendulum swings both ways--sometimes we error too much on one side and not enough on the other. Or maybe it's not a pendulum at all, but more like the sun and rain--you need both (and a slew of other things) to grow a healthy crop.