Monday, June 12, 2006

On Reading the Bible

I've recently come across two essays on Scripture reading that have been encouraging, rebuking, affirming, and illuminating. The first speaks to a viewpoint I first truly encountered in a Bible as Literature course, a perspective that continues to revolutionize my reading of Scripture and is, I believe, essential to a proper understanding of the Bible. The second addresses an issue that often silently weighs on many well-meaning Christians and is a burden we are not meant to bear.

We often read the Bible for what it’s not and seldom read it for what it is. Here’s what it is not: It is not a book you use to prove a point. Neither is it a book written to solve your personal problems. Here’s what it is: It is the true story of what God has really done in history. It is a true account of how God works and what God wants done on earth.

from Reading the Bible Like a Grown-Up Child by Calvin Seerveld

Whose idea was it to define the sum total of my relationship with God as my devotional consistency? Your quiet time is not your relationship with God. Your relationship with God—or, as I prefer to say, God’s relationship with you—is your whole life: your job, your family, your sleep, your play, your relationships, your driving, your everything. The real irony here is that we’ve become accustomed to pigeonholing our entire relationship with God into a brief devotional exercise that is not even commanded in the Bible.

from Freedom from Quiet Time Guilt by Greg Johnson


Anonymous Will said...

Seerveld is one of my favorite Christian thinkers ever.

Thanks for pointing out this essay, which I had not heard of.

By the bye, I'm reading Buechner's Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons right now, and it strikes me that it may be a good follow-up read to these two essays you just read. He is all about coming to the Bible as a new reader.

1:55 PM  

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