Shaping Habits and Imagination for Reading Scripture (Dr. Heath Thomas)

When people assume that they are already familiar with the Bible, they may fail to read it with a critical or careful eye (if at all). The truth is that Western people’s imaginations are usually far more shaped by social media and the entertainment industry, or by even the Greco-Roman world, than by the structures and styles of the Bible. Hence, even faithful churchgoers often need additional guidance and practice reading Scripture to become biblically literate.

In this episode, Dr. Dru Johnson talks with Dr. Heath Thomas, President Professor of Old Testament at Oklahoma Baptist University, about how we should approach reading Scripture. Among other things, readers should consider the grammar, literary devices, motifs, and type-scenes that begin in the Torah and then unfold throughout the prophets and the New Testament. Reading Scripture well requires habituating one’s imagination toward that of the authors and their conceptual worlds. When we are fully immersed in the texts, we can join the project of contextualizing and applying the Bible to the modern world.


  • 2:19 How the prophets re-contextualize the Torah in new situations
  • 7:35 The kind of thinking required to live out God’s law in new ways
  • 12:03 How the New Testament retells the Torah like the minor prophets
  • 14:42 Introducing Dr. Heath Thomas
  • 17:10 Habituating ourselves to reading Scripture
  • 21:18 How to combat biblical illiteracy through performance
  • 30:42 Reading other literary works alongside Scripture
  • 36:40 The complexity of the biblical narratives

Dr. Thomas’s commentary on Habakkuk.

Dr. Thomas’s work with the Hobbs College Library, an accessible collection of works that help people read Scripture.

Show notes by Micah Long.

Did you enjoy this podcast episode? Check out articles from The Biblical Mind.