The image says it all, right? “Aint nobody got time for that!” The longer that I walk with Christ, the more convinced I am of this: we all need to be writing and rewriting commentaries on the Bible.
There are a couple reasons for this. First, it gets us into the text of Scripture. Second, it forces us to examine what is being said, and to ask the difficult questions of how it all fits together. Maybe you’re just starting out in Christianity, and you need to immerse yourself in the text, and begin to wrestle with the various points. Maybe you need to read it, and comment on the pieces that stick out. Maybe you are the seminary student who is learning Greek and Hebrew, and this is the perfect way to attempt to learn it more thoroughly. Maybe you’re the stay-at-home mother who finds in God’s word the consolation of peace and love. None of these things are in themselves correct or incorrect.
In reading the Bible, there are often thoughts that we have, things that stick out, that we simply say, “Hmm!” and keep reading. Write it down. In three years, when you look back through what you’ve written, you might find that you had a really good thought and that you didn’t even remember it.
In writing commentaries, there are a couple routes to go. There is the scholarly commentary that will wrestle with the Greek and Hebrew to attempt to get at the original words, and then from there comment what the text itself is saying. There are the commentaries that are more practical, which essentially means that they look for life application. There are commentaries that search for how the whole of the Bible fits together, and how this particular book fits within that whole. There are the commentaries that seek to find recurring phrases and sentences, and therefore cross-reference every verse with another verse that sounds similar. Obviously, some of these have overlap with one another.
There isn’t a correct or incorrect way of writing out commentaries. It is essential, though, for everyone to do it. Some passages of Scripture are just weird and difficult to explain (like Job 1). If we want to be serious about calling ourselves Christian, we must be about the text. We have to engage what it says. Even if it is difficult, we still need to know what it is saying and why. Not everyone will desire to get profoundly deep in their understanding. Not everyone has the capacity to. What is most important is this: falling in love with God because of the glory that emanates from the pages of His Holy Writ. If you’re in Leviticus and not finding anything worth saying, then skip it and move on. Maybe you will come back to it in a few years and have something to say. There is nothing wrong with this.
In writing out, or in podcasting, having Bible studies where we choose a certain book and go from beginning to end through it, etc, we are growing up into maturity. It is the difficult passages that help us grow, and not every passage that is difficult for you is difficult for others. There are certain things said by Paul that I have no clue what he is talking about. There are other things that I understand perfectly well, while others have confessed to me that they are at a loss. That’s fine. We all need one another, and this only proves it.
So, in conclusion, I want to challenge you to begin to write out your thoughts concerning the word of God. Maybe it is nothing “scholarly”, but just a mere journal of your thoughts as you read. Maybe you enjoy (like myself) to dig in as deep as possible to understand exactly what is being said in all pieces, and to ask why they are saying this instead of that, and why say it here instead of two chapters ago, etc. Wherever you’re at, whatever your preference, please, write about the Bible. I need it, you need it, and those who you know also need it.