Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Future of Bible Reading

I am not a prophet nor the son of a prophet but I do have a few intuitions about the future of Bible reading in the North American church.

We (I) have too many books about The Book.  Or at least we (I) read too many books about The Book.  And too little of The Book itself.  While other readers’ insights are valuable, they are not a substitute for first-hand acquaintance, indeed, intimacy with the Bible itself.

We (I) must read The Book as those with trust issues in God and suspicions about what God might be doing in the world.  But also as those who have been grasped by the One whose knowledge and peace (surpasses all understanding) and thus one who deserves the benefit of the doubt or at least a holding of our questions open to further reflection and conversation/argument with him about them.

We (I) must read The Book as those who in so doing subject themselves in vulnerability (faith and obedience) to its Subject.  And discover in it the story/reality of One who has made himself vulnerable (faithfulness and servanthood) to us in the most radical way imaginable.

We (I) must read The Book less for its answers to our questions but the questions it poses to our answers to life’s questions and enigmas.

We (I) must learn to read and talk about The Book together.  Our private individual reading of the Bible should be secondary to and derivative of the larger conversations we have we each other about its meaning to and claims on us.

We (I) must learn to read The Book as those who have enlisted and desperately need training for service.

We (I) must learn that The Book is not about us but that God has graciously included us as important players in the great dream he is pursuing for all creation.

Until we can read The Book with a Psalm 119-like love and commitment to its “Torah” (the “eternal purpose” of God; Eph.3:11), we will remain mere readers, not those who find in the Bible the will of God which is our meat and drink (John 4:31-34).

We (I) must come to embrace/wrestle with The Book as did Dietrich Bonhoeffer who studied and knew the critical discussion about the Bible and also read it as God’s love letter to his people.

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