How to Enjoy Reading the Bible (Matthew Mullins)

Many of us approach Scripture with an “intellectualist” lens: we’re seeking clear ideas with straightforward moral application for our lives. Often we do so unconsciously, because of our church background or the way we were first introduced to the Bible. This way of reading Scripture, while not entirely bad, disassociates us from the text. We don’t read novels or poems like this, so why would we apply this lens to some of the greatest literary works of all time?

In this episode, Dru Johnson interviews Dr. Matthew Mullins, Associate Professor of English and History of Ideas at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, about learning to love the Bible. Matthew Mullins wants to help us overcome our “Cartesian eyes” and read Scripture with our whole selves: emotion, rationality, and activity. They discuss Matthew’s book, Enjoying the Bible: Literary Approaches to Loving the Scriptures, and how to read the Bible as literature instead of as a textbook. As we pursue more engaged reading of Scripture, we can understand the cares and concerns of the biblical authors, as well as transform the way we think and live.

Show notes:

  • 0:00 Reading the Bible as literature
  • 2:05 Avoiding an information-centric perspective of Scripture
  • 6:25 Isolating reading and learning from emotion
  • 13:32 Learning to love the Bible
  • 17:24 Delighting in biblical wisdom
  • 21:15 Returning to the text to with new eyes
  • 24:00 “Reading at whim”

Matthew Mullins’s talk: “You Can’t Understand the Bible If You Don’t Love Poetry”

Show notes by Micah Long.

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