In recent weeks I’ve had some distractions, but I’m glad to begin this study in earnest. By now you might be wondering what “before the text” is. Allow me to explain.
When studying the Bible, we each read it through the lenses of our past experiences, church background (if any), religious beliefs, and moral character, perhaps among other things. Such lenses color our understanding of the Biblical text. We usually try to make Scripture say one thing or another, perhaps using proof texts, or bending the text to fit our beliefs.
This is not what the Bible is for. It is a standard by which we should change our understanding. The original authors wrote their words, inspired by God, to a specific audience, in a specific time, with a specific meaning in mind. Often that true, original meaning is lost to us because we don’t understand all that was involved. In order to truly understand, and later apply Scripture, we should seek to understand the conditions in which it was written, to whom, and why. Then we can make proper application when fitting (and it usually is proper to make application).
That being said, before we read Psalm chapter 1, I want you to consider your background, and what influences your understanding of the Bible. Make a list of all of the related experiences and question each one of them. This exercise will be highly personal. My hope is it will set you into a pattern of self-examination before studying of each chapter and/or section of this endeavor.
May we each be objective and find Truth.