I Learned How To Read In Seminary

With all due respect to my mother who taught me to read when I was four or five, and with apologies to my undergraduate degree in English, I really did learn how to read in seminary.

As in close reading. As in learning to observe what’s going on in a piece of literature before trying to figure what it means.

In short, I learned in seminary that how a piece is written is a large part of what it is saying.

For that learned skill, I have Robert Traina’s classic book Methodical Bible Study to thank.

Little known outside that sometimes insular world of Asbury Seminary, Traina’s work spells out the structural elements vital to any written work: contrast, causation, cruciality, interrogation, repetition, particularization and much more.

So we learned how to read sections of Scripture by first paying attention to the structural laws at work. By looking at how the author put the words together . . . which usually opens up what that author is saying.

Twenty-two years after my first exposure to Methodical Bible Study, I’m still using its principles when I study passages to prepare my messages. It has been especially helpful in picking apart the book of James for the Rubber, Meet Road series.

So check out Methodical Bible Study. Perhaps you can learn how to read without ever going to seminary.