Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What If I read a Bible story and I’m Stumped for a Meaning?

Sometimes you will read a story and for the life of you, you will not be able to find any meaning in the story. At this time, you might research what others have said about this particular passage. The interpretation of others might jog your mind. In addition, there is nothing really wrong in looking at the passage with the tools of modern interpretation. If the passage appears particularly Freudian, Dantean or Jungian to you, by all means go ahead and use those schools of thought to interpret the story. Bible stories are rich and can be read on many levels. The story of Jacob’s wrestling with the angel, for instance, can be seen as historical with an actual battle between Jacob and an angel. Or it can be seen as Jacob fighting with his inner self. Or Jacob fighting with the guardian spirit of the place. The story of Jacob’s dream of the ladder can be interpreted as a literal dream. Or can be spiritualized to discuss Jacob entering into the realm of the subconscious. If it makes sense to you, by all means explore the story in whatever way fits. Only, don’t go overboard and try to fall into some trendy new psycho-babble. Turning the story of Rebekah and Isaac into a discussion of “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus” or seeing the battle between Esau and Jacob as an example of “Birth Order in the Bible” would be going off track.

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