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How to read the Bible

How to read the Bible

How to read the Bible:

Alone in the dead of night, with only the owls for company;
Bravely, when the text takes a terrifying turn;
Curiously, open to giants, sea monsters, miracles, and talking snakes;
Daily, as a discipline and a delight;
Eagerly, panting as the hart for living water;
Fearfully, and with trembling, since such is the beginning of wisdom;
Gregariously, as they began, reading the scriptures in faithful company;
Halfway, allowing yourself to be arrested by a verse or a word before the reading is done;
Intently, seeking the marrow of the meaning;
Joyfully, in the knowledge that God’s love is disguised in its ink;
Knowledgeably, seeking out the wisdom of the ages and contemporary scholarship;
Loudly, proclaiming good news before the assembled company of worshippers;
Moderately, with a good but not a gluttonous appetite;
Now, and then, and tomorrow;
Openly, without prejudice and with an ear to the Holy Spirit;
Prayerfully, before, and after, and always;
Quietly, with a calm spirit, or one at least that seeks the still, small voice beyond the storm;
Rowdily, when the occasion calls for it;
Stealthily, at other times;
Truthfully, allowing the text to interrogate you and answering honestly;
Usually, creating a habit of devotional reading that endures;
Valiantly, doing battle with the distractions of the world and the devil to keep your word to the word;
Wistfully, with a heart for heaven on earth;
Xylophagously, (metaphorically) devouring and inwardly digesting the scriptures;
Yawning, falling asleep mid-sentence that revelation may haunt your dreams;

The Revd Rosalind C Hughes is an Episcopal priest serving the Church of the Epiphany in Euclid, Ohio. Her first book, A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing will be published by Upper Room Books in April 2020. She writes more at

Photo: The Creation: The First Eight Chapters of Genesis. Woodcuts by Frans Masereel. On display at the Library of Congress, from its Rare Book and Special Collections Division.


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