We start a new preaching series, in 2 Samuel, it would be great to read 2 Samuel before we kick off.
2 Samuel is Old Testament narrative. That’s Bible-geek speak for ‘it’s a storybook’. Yes, a storybook full of true stories, but stories none-the-less. It’s not a tightly structured, logical argument like the ‘epistle’ Romans is. That means, if we try to read 2 Samuel like we’d read Romans, it’ll go very wrong.
So how should we read it?
- Read it fast. Why not read it like you would a novel? Sitting on the sofa, with a cup of coffee, racing through the stories, episodes and incidents. Reading at a pace where you can remember what just happened and you’re left wondering what’s around the next corner.
- Enjoy the twists and turns. Like any good book, 2 Samuel promises ups and downs, twists and turns. There’s character development, plot development, tension and intrigue. Don’t get so bogged down in the detail; wondering why words and sentences are ordered as they are; that you fail to see the bigger, more exciting picture!
- Remember it's not a story about you. Are you king over God’s people? Advisor to a mighty king? Or God himself? No thought not! There’ll be things we learn from the characters in 2 Samuel, but it’s not a story about us. When we do feature, we’re probably one of the non-specific people, not the hero! Don’t ruin the lessons God is teaching through the story, by putting yourself in places you don’t belong.
- Listen out for the melodic line. If the first three tips are easy for you, then why not dig deeper, and try listening for the melodic line? It’s been helpful in 2 Peter to see the repeated, headline idea of the book, and any Bible book is well read with a pencil ready to scribble, as we spot repetitions of that headline idea. As 2 Samuel is a story, finding the big idea will inevitably be harder, it’ll be more likely involve repeated ideas and concepts rather than specific phrases. Never-the-less why not give it a go?!
We’ve got two weeks! Happy reading!
[One final top tip: 2 Samuel isn’t as separate from 1 Samuel as the editing in our Bibles suggests. They were probably originally one book, so expect repetition of ideas that we saw in 1 Samuel. Click here to listen back to that sermon series.]