Many years ago, the US radical Christian magazine, The Other Side (which published from 1965 to late 2004), ran a regular feature called The Reversed Standard Version. In these articles, a familiar Bible passage was re-analysed to see whether it really meant what people appear to think it means. Often the Bible passage was printed with certain words changed to their opposite, to demonstrate how the text was often interpreted to mean exactly the opposite of what it may really mean. Along the way, the series succeeded in questioning the ‘establishment’ (read white, male, afffluent, heterosexual) reading of the Bible, and doing interpretation ‘from below’.
This blog is an attempt to do something similar, from a personal viewpoint. I don’t have formal theological qualifications, but I’ve written daily Bible reading notes for over 30 years, and along the way I’ve had some thoughts about the ‘standard’ approach to many parts of the Bible. As an English literature graduate, I tend to approach the Bible in a narrative way. As one of the tiny band of UK Mennonites, I will attempt to use an Anabaptist hermeneutic of seeing Jesus as the primary key for interpretation. I also want to be sensitive to context and not extract ‘blessed thoughts’ which have nothing to do with the original purpose of the text. (Although I may occasionally extract jokes which have little to do with the original purpose. Hey, I’m Jewish by birth, why wouldn’t I make jokes about the Bible?)
I’m aiming to write something in this blog at least once a week. Sometimes it may be a dumping ground for thoughts I can’t use in my Bible notes or preaching, sometimes a proving ground for thoughts I intend to use in them, sometimes just an idle wondering. I hope you will accompany me on my exploratory journey, get some new insights, and enjoy the ride.