“What if instead of reading the Bible, you let the Bible read you?” Brian McLaren
“Hal … only had three fingers on his left hand. There should have been four. He lost one legitimately while working with his skilsaw. The second finger was lost while showing a friend how he lost the first. After that he let his wife tell folks about the accident(s). Hal was known for reading the Bible. Before he retired and back when he had all ten fingers, he was known for flipping through the well-worn pages of his Bible really fast so he’d be the first in the congregation to locate the sermon text. As soon as the preacher would say, ‘I’ll be speaking from John 1:1–10,’ there would be a quick rustling of pages. Hal was off like a hummingbird on crack! And before the preacher could read, ‘In the beginning was the Word,’ Hal would have his right index finger on the spot. When Hal retired he decided to become more serious and systematic with his Bible reading. He bought one of those ‘Read-the-Bible-in-a-Year’ Bibles, and he did just that. And apparently he really enjoyed it because on New Year’s Eve the following year he determined to read all the way through the Bible in a month. And he did. Apparently Hal liked that as well, because he resolved to read the Bible through once per month for every month of that new year. And he did. From all his Bible reading, Hal thought he had figured out that God seemed to be partial to some numbers more than others. The numbers 3, 7, 12, 40, and 144 seemed particularly important to God, and this gave Hal an idea. He determined that he would continue reading the Bible through once each month until he had read from cover to cover 144 times. And he did! When Hal died, he was known for being one of the meanest, angriest, and most hateful people you could ever meet. Hal made a mistake. He got all the way through the Bible many times, but he never got certain key passages all the way through himself.” Gary Moon
“give me life through your word.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- As time goes by, is your thirst for the Bible growing? Are you in it daily, or rarely?
- Do you read the Bible in such a way that it “gets through” to you?
- What would it mean to let the Bible “read you?” Can you make a short list?
Abba, I seek you behind the pages of your Word.
For more: Apprenticeship with Jesus by Gary Moon
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and God seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. Thanks! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“We are all interpreting the text to some degree. We are all privileging–deferring to–certain values, doctrines, creedal commitments, traditions, or biblical texts. Something somewhere is trumping something else. …The only question is whether you are consciously vs. unconsciously using a hermeneutic. …When your hermeneutic is operating unconsciously it causes you to say things like ‘this is the clear teaching of Scripture.’ …What is interesting to me in this phenomenon is not that we are all engaging in hermeneutics, acts of interpretation. That is a given. What is interesting to me is how self-awareness, or the lack thereof, is implicated in all this. …denying that you are engaged in hermeneutics–betrays a shocking lack of self-awareness, an inability to notice the way your mind and emotions are working in the background and beneath the surface. I think statements like ‘this is the clear teaching of Scripture’ are psychologically diagnostic. Statements like these reveal something about yourself. Namely, that you lack a certain degree of self-awareness. For example, saying something like ‘this is the clear teaching of Scripture’ is similar to saying ‘I’m not a racist.’ …Self-aware people would say things like ‘I don’t want to be a racist’ or ‘I try not to be racist’ or ‘I condemn racism.’ But they would never say ‘I’m not a racist’ because self-aware people know that they have blind spots. …[that] they have unconscious baggage that is hard to notice or overcome. And it’s the same with how self-aware people approach reading the bible. Self-aware people know that they are trying to read the bible in an unbiased fashion. …[and] to let the bible speak clearly and it its own voice. But self-aware people know they have blind spots. They know that there is unconscious baggage affecting how they are reading the bible, baggage that they know must be biasing their readings and conclusions. Consequently, self-aware people would never, ever say ‘this is the clear teaching of Scripture.’ Just like they’d never claim to be unbiased in any other area of life, racism being just one example. What I am saying is that when we approach the issue of sola scriptura–using ‘the bible alone’ …[that besides remembering hermeneutics, we must remember] the issue of emotional intelligence, the degree to which you are reading the bible with a degree of self-awareness.” Richard Beck
“Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” Peter (Mark 14:31)
Moving From Head to Heart
- Is the Bible’s meaning usually pretty obvious to you?
- Are you aware of your biases and blind-spots?
- What can you do to read with more “self-awareness?”
Abba, reveal my blind-spots and arrogance, and open my eyes to see when others show me the truth.
Thanks for reading and sharing this blog! – Bill