The Whole Sweep of Scripture

The Whole Sweep of Scripture

How do you read the Bible?

The question sounds simple enough.When asked that question in an interview, New Testament scholar N.T. Wright’s answer was simple: “Frequently and thoroughly.” In the interview below, he goes on to explain what he describes as “the whole sweep of Scripture.”

Wright makes 2 interrelated assertions:

(1) The Bible was not primarily written to be read in 10-verse chunks.
(2) To read the whole thing, even though you may be just focusing on this little bit.

Both statements urge us to see the Bible not as a series of small, unrelated vignettes, but as a single, coherent body of work. As Wright puts it, we should consider “the whole sweep of Scripture.” When we begin to see Scripture in this way, we start noticing the threads that weave in and out of the narrative, drawing seemingly disparate sections together.

Since I first heard N.T. Wright speak on this question, I’ve been thinking about being told that I needed to “read the Bible” when I first made the decision to follow Jesus. The only thing I knew to do was to open it up at the beginning and read it.

When did we shift to pulling out chunks looking for “principles to live by?”

— thanks to Michael Carpenter for the insights

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