BibleProject | How to Read the Bible


Day 4: The Bible as Jewish Meditation Literature

Each time period and culture produces its own unique kind of literature. In order to read the Bible well, we need to keep in mind the ancient Near Eastern context and the type of literature produced in this period of time.

The Bible is written as ancient Jewish meditation literature, and it’s meant to draw readers into a lifelong journey of reading and meditation. The Bible is designed as a multi-layered work, offering new levels of insight as you reread it and allow each part to help you understand every other part.

In Psalm 1, we read about the ideal Bible reader. It’s someone who meditates on the Scriptures day and night. In Hebrew, the word “meditate” means literally to mutter or speak quietly. The idea is that every day for the rest of your life you slowly, quietly read the Bible out loud to yourself. And then you go talk about it with your friends and family, pondering the puzzles, making connections, and discovering what it all means. And as you let the Bible interpret itself, something remarkable happens. The Bible starts to read you. Because ultimately, the writers of the Bible want you to adopt this story as your story.