Reading the Bible: Feast or Snack?

We all have our favorite Bible verses.

“'For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Carmen you have raised the bar! Wow! If I were presenting and participating in this event personally I would be inspired to do my best to meet the expectations you have presented about the conference and it’s objectives. PLEASE, share with us about what your analysis and ideas are AFTER this conference. We need more of these events.


So when are the typical homiletic approaches of pastors going to change to stop this from taking place?

Do the ministerial secretaries share your burden?
Evidently not.

Most SDA members don’t care for various reasons. They have a lot more important things to do than deal with their eternal salvation.

Stats indicate that 75%-90% of churchgoers have never read their whole bible once.

Do a survey at your church & see what percentage have even read the new testament once. (about 1/4 of whole bible)

Or… see how many even took any time, last quarter, to read 166 verses of 1 & 2 Peter

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The Bible has many characteristics dependant on who uses it and how. It has taken on a mystery that borders on magic, on its most elementary level, substituting for amulets and talismans. On the extreme opposite it serves as a text, one among many, to be analyzed and dissected for composition. For Christianity, the Bible should be a vehicle that brings its reader to a lasting and lingering experience that looks like a relationship, giving direction and purpose to a life.

Religion has taken ownership of the Bible, and uses it to build dogma that sequesters faith. It appears that most religion starts with a premise, and seeks validation from the Bible. The new “truth”, or “present truth” consists of new emphasis on old texts and requires study and probing to bolster the new paradigm. At least, that is what happened to the Adventist system. What all this ends up being is a formula for corporate loyalty.

Much of religious dogma is compiled by men; and doesn’t matter in the grand scheme things; but, If the members of a denomination worship out of fear, it matters. If worship is for renumeration, it matters. On the other hand, if worship is a simple cry for recognition, it also matters; and if the Bible leads it’s reader to a personal knowledge of God, it has served its purpose no matter in what format or language.

Scholarship is important to actually understanding the the texts. Does that matter?


Certainly believers must learn to read the Scriptures for all they are worth. We need to commit ourselves to reading it as a grand story that arises out of a host of stories nested within it and the trajectory they form.

Rikk Watts, a world renowned NT Bible scholar, long time Professor of NT at Regent College and presently a Professor at Alphacrucis College, Melbourne, Australia gave a lecture in Nov, 2014 at Dordt College. It was titled “Jerusalem and Athens Revisited.” In this lecture he outlines why understanding the narrative shape of the gospels really matter. It may be found at this web address:

Dr Jan Barna of Newbold College is notable among Adventist scholars who encourage Bible students to read Scripture as a whole story and enjoy the feast. He has actually highlighted the fact that Ellen White outlines a very workable Scriptural hermeneutic in _Education._p. 124ff. Barna gave a helpful series of lectures to the Crieff SDA Church, Scotland in March 2014. An audio MP3 of his lecture may be found at
His powerpoint slides are also available at the said website.

Interestingly, it was the rise of critical hermeneutical methods in the Age of Enlightenment more than anything else that eclipsed the understanding of Scripture as narrative. On the other hand Barna’s hermeneutic, which he finds in kernel form in the book Education by Ellen White, is the very thing that has allowed him and Bertil Wiklander among others to create their renewed biblical vision of men and women as servants of God, leading to a reconsideration of “ordination” in the Adventist context…

Thank you for sharing these resources. Very helpful.