If you’re going to read the Bible, you have to contextualize it within its historical context or you risk falling into religious fundamentalism/extremism.
This is where those critical thinking skills from English class come in handy!
While you’re reading this ancient text, you should be thinking:
What was going on when it was written?
Who are the actors?
Who wrote it?
What perspective does each individual author bring to each book?
What were the challenges of that time?
What were the norms of that time?
How are these challenges and norms similar and different from contemporary norms? How does that impact application to self?
Who was this book written for?
What do different translations of the same text show you?
How do different authors tell the same story differently? Why?
Why was a particular translation selected/developed? For whom? By whom?
How have the meanings of individual words transformed over time? Does the new meaning change the interpretation of the verse?
How have these stories and lessons been leveraged throughout history to liberate/incarcerate folks from various backgrounds?
The list goes on and on. Feel free to add additional ones to this list that you use to ground your spiritual practice!
Ultimately, my message is assume nothing, question everything. Walking by faith and not by sight doesn’t mean you can’t ask critical questions. Deeper understanding is the gateway to genuine spiritual development.