Genesis Part Four: Deep Dive
WHAT DO I DO WHEN I DON'T UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE? | KATIE HALDANE
Some people are scared of studying the Bible just in case they find a scripture that confuses them or perhaps even a scripture that they disagree with. The Bible is strong enough to stand up against any argument or study that you put to it. Our Christian walk is not based on blind faith, led by ignorance, our Christian faith is built upon a solid foundation of walking with God through the good and bad and wrestling with the Bible for all the truth that it contains. I love the story of Jacob wrestling with God; sometimes I imagine that is me when I read the Bible, I will wrestle with the text until it blesses me, until I am changed and transformed into the way it wants me to be not the other way around. Don’t study the Bible for it to fit into your way of thinking, we study the Bible so that our thinking comes into alignment with its truth!
So what happens if I come across a passage I don’t understand or one I even disagree with? That is where these commentaries come in! Throughout this journey, I will give you lists of books that have helped me in different areas so that you too can study and understand the gems found in the Bible. A treasure isn’t found unless you get your hands dirty and get into the mess!
The books that have helped me wrestle with the truths of the Old Testament are:
THE IVP BIBLE BACKGROUND COMMENTARY Old Testament by John H Walton, Victor H Matthews and Mark W Chavalas. This great verse by verse study of the Old Testament is my first step when I am unsure of what the text means. It gives me the cultural background of the text to help me better understand the original intention of the text. This book covers all of the Old Testament in one volume, so is not too detailed but clear and concise.
The Word Biblical Commentary by Gordon J Wenham is another commentary I consulted while studying Genesis and Exodus. I used the Word Biblical Commentary as I wanted a deeper study rather than just book by book coverage, these are normally a harder read than the ones I normally use but I wanted to get a greater depth of study. The easier commentaries are Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries.
An Introduction to the Old Testament by Tremper Longman III & Raymond B Dillard is one you can’t go past for great overviews of each book. This is a great quick reference guide, interesting and theological.
Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary by John H Walton is wonderful for visual learners who like to see maps, places and cultural details. These are a little expensive and come in the Old Testament series but they are a great visual look at the Old Testament.
The Teach the Text Commentary Series is one I have only recently discovered, and is intended for teachers and preachers. It’s a creative look at the books with topics that you can preach, including historical context, Interpretive insights, theological insights, teaching the text and how to illustrate the text.
So here are some of the books that will help you get the most out of your Bible reading. Hope you love studying the Word with these great books and finding the incredible life changing truth that it contains.