Where do you read your Bible?

This question was a recent conversation point with a friend of mine. Each of us preaches, and as part of our preparations, we sit with the Biblical texts appointed for that day. Each of us also has a practice of reading the Bible every day as part of our daily prayer routine.

Where we read the Bible matters.

My friend often reads her Bible while out for a walk or hike in the forest, along a stream or raging river, or in a desert interior landscape. These particular surroundings, often experienced with no or few people around, influences the way my friend reads her Bible.

When I am preparing for a sermon, I often read my Bible in the cacophony of Vancouver’s West End. I read sacred texts in places such as Jim Deva Plaza, Nelson Park, or Davie Street-based coffee shops or pubs. My particular surrounding influences the way I read the Bible.

Where do you read your Bible?

Context matters. 

Over the past two weeks, Richard and I have been on vacation. The first week I read my Bible in hotel rooms located in small Interior and Kootenay towns; the second week I read my Bible in a cabin on the Sunshine Coast (where it rained the entire time). These contexts influenced how I read and “heard” the Bible.

I have also been reading R.S. Sugirtharajah’s Jesus in Asia as part of my ongoing work to decolonize the theological and Biblical interpretations I have learned over the years. In this text, I met a Jesus who was interpreted by scholars influenced by the Buddha, Confucius, Brahma, and traditions such as Taoism, Hinduism, and Jainism. Context matters. I met very different Jesus’ as interpreted (and remember, everything is an interpretation) by scholars from different contexts than my own.

So, where do you read your Bible? How does that place influence how you read and “hear” the Bible? I invite you to join me this week in reflecting upon these questions.