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You teach several classes that deal with scriptural narratives, and you’re big on understanding the (real) main point of individual stories in Scripture. Why do we so often misinterpret the meaning of biblical stories? Can you give us a couple examples of stories whose actual meaning is different than its traditional or surface meaning?
There’s no magic to understanding the Bible; its meaning is not accessible only to a few trained specialists. The often-neglected key to understanding is the context. We quote a verse about God knowing the plans that he has for us, without having any idea that this was part of a letter that Jeremiah wrote to his fellow citizens who had just had their homes destroyed, their families wiped out, and their bodies dragged off to live in Babylon. We read David and Goliath as if it is primarily about God helping underdogs, without recognizing that the giant that David really defeated was Saul. Don’t read verses, read chapters. Don’t read chapters, read books. This is more work than grabbing a verse and going, but accuracy has its rewards.