The new quarter started this week so I’ve got two new classes to be consumed by. Whereas my last classes were missional in focus, these are straight up theology and I’m a bit more nervous about them!
But it’s been a great first week and already in my Interpretive Practices class I’ve had an eye opener. It’s actually ridiculously simple, and it seems silly to say, but I need the humility practice 😉
I need to be reading the Bible as Scripture.
I know, that’s a no-brainer. But I realized that often when I read the Bible, I read it as stories, lessons, history, wisdom or poetry. I see it as good advice and a long gone message from a God who once walked among his people. I think about how lucky the Disciples were to have Jesus among them, and how amazing it must have been to be among those who formed the first Church. I try to to discover context and meaning and figure out what applies to my life and what was relevant only in ancient culture.
What if I’m not meant to read with all of these goals in mind? I’m not saying I shouldn’t try to understand the Bible, I absolutely want to know what God is saying. But instead of trying to wring an interpretation out of what I’m reading, what if I read with the intent of letting the Scripture change me? Perhaps I could try to put away my preconceived notions about what I think God is trying to say, and read as though he is speaking to me.
I tried that this morning and was doing some reading in Jeremiah, when I came across this verse:
For you were not being honest when you sent me to pray to the Lord your God for you. You said, ‘Just tell us the Lord our God says, and we will do it!’ And today I have told you exactly what he said, but you will not obey the Lord your God any better now than you have in the past. Jeremiah 42:20-21
So if I apply that to me, and I’m honest with myself, then that’s pretty uncomfortable. Have I ever gone to God in prayer, complained about how miserable I am, asked for help and then gone right ahead down the same path anyway? Yes. Have I done it more than once? Twice? More than that? Yeah, I have.
Well, that was awkward. But I still see the value in the practice; the concept of seeking conversion by the Scripture rather than mastery of the Scripture.