I was listening to Rob Bell speak the other day about reading and interpreting the Bible. He used a metaphor for engaging with the Bible that I thought was really interesting: turn the gem.
The One Correct Interpretation
Here’s what he was talking about: Often when we read the Bible, we search for the one correct interpretation for the passage. We want to make sure we have gotten it right. If someone disagrees with us about our interpretation, there’s a problem. We might get in an argument about the passage, trying to convince the other person we are correct. Churches and denominations divide and split community over different interpretations about the Bible.
But what if there isn’t always one correct interpretation for each passage? What if there are different ways to look at and read the Bible? What if there is more to the Bible than what we initially see upon our first read?
Turn the Gem
That’s the idea of turning the gem. Think about the Bible like a big, shiny, diamond. As we turn the gem, the light hits the diamond differently, and we see the gem in a new way. As we continue to turn the gem, we see new and different things about the gem. By turning the gem, we have a fuller sense of the diamond than we do when we just take one perspective.
To give an example, Rob Bell said he read a book by a Jewish rabbi, in which each chapter was a different interpretation of the passage in Genesis 32 in which Jacob wrestles with God. A whole book, with each chapter representing a different perspective on the passage. Now that’s turning the gem!
Discussion: How do you engage with the Bible? Do you tend to get locked into one perspective or interpretation, or are you open to new ways of reading and understanding the Scripture? How could you “turn the gem” in your reading and study of the Bible?