In this day and age not only is the knowledge of scripture waning among the faithful it seems, but the Book is not being appreciated for what it really is: the written word of God. Certain parts are out of style, or maybe we should say parts everywhere, or why not just say the entire Book? It doesn’t fit our fancy, just isn’t in with the spirit of the times.
This thought came home anew and afresh to me in listening to what I think is a powerful testimony of a lesbian coming to faith, well worth the listen. She wrestled through all of scripture. And over time. And the Lord met her there.
Of course I don’t believe we’re to live in the past. We in Jesus live in God’s kingdom and in that new reality here and now and for this day as God’s resurrection people in and through Jesus and his cross. We don’t go back to the old covenant. Nor do we live in the culture in and to which the new covenant was written. This book is the best I’ve read in helping us begin to think through that. Nevertheless we need every line, every thought that comes out of every part of scripture, everything given, all of it. Picking and choosing will not do.
All of it is in there for a reason. Parts of it I dislike. But those parts often either mirror the sin that can take hold and destroy, or my own sin in some way affecting my reading of it in ways I can’t or maybe never will fully comprehend this side of glory, though it’s probably good to work on that.
I like the idea of reading scripture, especially out loud which scripture itself advocates. I’ve done that a number of times (though not out loud, except perhaps in my mind), but mostly I’ve listened and continue to listen to it being read- in recent years from The Bible Experience. I have to keep listening, try to listen well, and grow in that, but in this way I’m pushed through the entire Book over and over again. Along with that we need serious Bible study and prayerful Bible reading (Lectio Divina). The only thing I’ve done relatively well is to listen to it being read, although I think it is too often in spite of myself, wandering thoughts and not paying close enough attention (becoming aware of this, I’m trying to do better), and yet enough of it getting through to me to make some difference.
We in Jesus have been aptly called “people of the Book.” As long as it is not a book we worship, but the God revealed in Christ we read of in the pages of that Book, we remain among the faithful. We look to the Spirit to help us as continue in God’s word together in and through Jesus for the world.