Since I became a Christian and engaged with the Bible as such, I have not been satisfied with the usual ways of reading and understanding the Bible - and have felt compelled to devise a way that seems better. I'll tell you what it is, below - but the process is ongoing, has barely begun, is far from complete, and is not something I am 'hurrying'...
What I reject include the following: 1. Regarding the Bible as a single unified book which is all equally true and without 'error' - when error is defined as the falsehood of explicit statements; 2. Regarding the truth of the Bible as something that resides at a sentence by sentence ('verse') level (and certainly not a work-by-word truth); 3. Regarding the truth of all sentences/ verses as requiring knowledge of the whole Bible; 4. That all the New Testament is equally valid; 5. That all the Gospels are equally valid and tell a single absolutely coherent story (coherent at either/ both the level of the whole or part-by-part).
So much for some of the negatives - what then?
Well, I reach the above decisions on the basis of what could be termed intuition or discernment - as all such decisions must be and are inevitably made -- the difference being whether that knowledge of intuition is explicit, or denied; and with the conviction that explicit intuition is more reliably and powerfully discerning than is unconscious or denied intuition.
On this basis I regard the Fourth Gospel ('John's' Gospel - but when taken in isolation the Gospel of the Beloved Disciple) as the heart of the Bible on the basis that it uniquely claims to be the work of one of Christ's disciples, whom Jesus particularly loved; and I believe these claims. Then - on reading it (in the divinely-inspired 'King James' translation); I find a work of the highest level of beauty, profundity and coherence - a work which when considered as literature surpasses any other in the language in terms of beauty, profundity and coherence.
(Besides which Hamlet is a ragbag, Paradise Lost a sprawling mess and Wordsworth's Prelude a hit and miss mish-mash.)
So, I start with the Gospel of the Beloved Disciple, and with the conviction that this should be placed first in the Bible, first among the Gospels and should be at the heart of Christian understanding and life (all the rest being regarded in the light of this coherent work of genius and inspiration).
And I try to know the light of this Gospel; so that I may know the other Gospels, the New Testament and Bible, and the Churches and traditions, and possible Christian futures - all in its light.
I have made a start - but so far the process of understanding the Gospel of the Beloved Disciple is taking a long time - many, many months (going into years) of intermittent intense reading, and intermediate prolonged brooding.
Nothing is more important than this for me - but I am not in a hurry. Indeed, I don't see that such a thing could or should be hurried.