Lisa Miller, Newsweek's religion columnist, asks the question: Is there a right way to read the Bible? She reports on a newly released book in which the author, surprised by one of the Old Testament accounts he wasn't familiar with, decides to "read a verse or two a day" and blog about it.
That is not the way to read the Bible. It's not the way we read in general to get meaning from a text. That's not the way to get the meaning from the Biblical text either.
Miller remarks, "Questions of authority will inevitably come up, especially among Jewish and Christian conservatives." Actually, those two groups will give very different answers to the question of authority in interpreting the Biblical text. Miller later accurately notes that the Reformation was based on the idea that the Bible was for all to read, study, and understand. The question of authority isn't the one Christian conservatives will raise. Rather, it's the question of hermeneutic method. The question to ask when reading the text isn't "What does it mean to me," which pretty much sounds like it characterizes the method this author/blogger took. The question to ask is when reading the text is "What information is this text meant to communicate?" It's a question of objectivity based in the intent of the author(s), not subjective meaning. There is subjective significance for what the meaning of the text is, but that is the secondary question and not the primary one.
Miller comments, "The Bible has of late been so mired in conversations about who's got it right and who's got it wrong...." Of late? How about from the beginning? Christianity has always been about what the truth is that God has revealed to us and that has been under discussion from the outset. That's not something new.
Yes, there is a right way to read the Bible. The way that arrives at the meaning intended by the author(s). The way to read the Bible is as a source of truth and information. The way to read the Bible is as God's revelation that we can discover and apply to our lives, but the objective meaning comes first before the personal application.