When I (Pastor Kevin) moved to a new area in Texas, I encountered a new town: Tivoli, Texas. You are probably encountering it the same way I first did, reading the word. How do you pronounce it? I had an idea. Soon enough, I found my idea was wrong. They actually giggled at me.
tuh-VOAL-ee was wrong. tie-VOAL-uh was how everyone there and around there said it. For a very long time. So they should probably know how to say it. I did not.
Nor did I know that Refugio county, in which tie-VOAL-uh is located, is pronounced re-FURY-oh. Huh? The G makes an R sound? Do they teach that at tie-VOAL-uh Elementary School? Maybe so. Even if not, I promise you won’t talk Texans out of these highly creative pronunciations.
READING FROM SOMEWHERE
This is a small example of a fundamental issue. Nobody reads correctly, automatically, straight off the page. Everyone reads with a certain set of “eyes” and a certain frame of mind.
For Christians in Bible study, this means there is no god-like space which we can get in and simply read the Bible for ourselves, ignoring all that pesky talk about original languages, differing cultures, and issues of interpretation. To state what should be obvious: Nobody reads from nowhere. Everybody reads from somewhere. We are situated in a place, with a certain language and worldview. We have assumptions, many of which will not be the same as those made by the MANY differing authors of the Bible.
This does not make reading impossible. Far from it! It makes reading the Bible much more interesting. For often, as many have said, we discover the Bible is “reading us.”
A new book challenges us to acknowledge that as modern, Western Christians, we sometimes misunderstand the Bible: Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible. This book will be the basis of a new study each Wednesday at Island View throughout the Fall. I invite you and challenge you to participate! There are new depths of meaning and possibility when we humble ourselves and seek help in interpreting the words of Scripture.
We’ll begin with a look at the Parable of the Prodigal Son — a favorite of so many people. Yet you and I tend to miss something in that story (and it’s not a minor detail) because of our social situation and assumptions in reading the text. Want to know what you’re missing? Join in the discussion!
Faith Formation: Better Bible Reading
By Removing Cultural Blinders
Taught by Pastor Kevin Collison
Each Wednesday beginning at 6:30 pm
in the Fellowship Hall of Island View Baptist Church