Two Ways to Read the Bible

Mike Bullmore, The Gospel and Scripture: How to Read the Bible (The Gospel Coalition Booklets; Wheaton: Crossway, 2011), 16–17 (formatting added):


The Bible is endlessly interesting because it is God’s story, and God by nature is himself endlessly interesting. . . .

There are actually many methods of reading the Bible, and because the Bible is inexhaustible, many methods can prove fruitful. However, we are not so much concerned here with what might be called “methods” as we are with what we can call “approaches.” Two main approaches to the Bible usefully unlock its treasure, which is the gospel.


  1. Reading the Bible as Continuous Narrative (or History) . . . .
  2. Reading the Bible as a Compendium of God-Inspired Perspectives (or Theology) . . . .

Whichever of these two ways the Bible is read, its message is the same.

If read as a continuous narrative, its storyline is

  1. creation,
  2. fall,
  3. redemption, and
  4. restoration.

If read as a collection of theological perspectives, the themes that emerge are

  1. God,
  2. sin,
  3. Christ, and
  4. faith.

The message of both readings is the triumph of God’s eternal, redemptive purpose.

These two ways of reading the Bible are not at all contradictory. On the contrary, they are both necessary to fully understand and “hear” the biblical gospel and to help us see how all the parts of the Bible hold together and point us to Jesus.

(HT: Andy Naselli)

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

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